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McKinnon To Step Aside From McCain Effort

President Bush poses with media adviser Mark McKinnon at Madison Square Garden in New York during a walk-through and sound check Sept. 2, 2004, before accepting the party's nomination later that night during the Republican National Convention in New York. McKinnon reprised his 2000 role as the Bush campaign's top media strategist in 2004, but today announced he will not work for 2008 presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) against Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama. (Associated Press)

By Chris Cillizza
Mark McKinnon, the lead media consultant for Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) presidential bid, is stepping down from that role -- making good on a pledge he made last year not to work against Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the fall campaign.

McKinnon confirmed his decision to The Fix this afternoon. "I'll be transitioning, shifting position from linebacker to head cheerleader," said the always-colorful McKinnon. He added that he would continued to be a "friend and fan" to the campaign.

McKinnon, a former Democrat, played a central role in Gov. George W. Bush's 2000 campaign and the Bush-Cheney reelection four years later. He was part of a large contingent of Bush operatives to make the transition to McCain in late 2006 and early 2007, but was one of only a handful who stuck with the Arizona senator after his campaign's implosion last summer.

That same summer, McKinnon told Cox Newspapers that if Obama was the Democratic nominee, he would not play an active role in McCain's effort to defeat the Illinois senator.

"I just don't want to work against an Obama candidacy," McKinnon told Cox Washington bureau chief Ken Herman; electing Obama, he added, "would send a great message to the country and the world." McKinnon said at the time he would vote for McCain.

Continue reading at The Fix »

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 20, 2008; 1:38 PM ET
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He must be feeling really sad about his part in electing the moronic Bush-child. He knows how ugly Republicans will get going after Obama and even he won't go that low.

The bigoted and racist rage that will erupt from the right wing dead-enders will cement their place in the ash heap of history.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 21, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Mark McKinnon has an interesting history. He originally worked for Ann Richards in her successful race for governor of Texas in 1990 before getting involved with George W. Bush.

John McCain will have to attack Barack Obama to win the race and the political consultant that plays a role in bringing down Obama will would be tainted as being a racist. I guess McKinnon did not want any of that. Or perhaps he still wants to play both sides and not be branded as solely a Republican consultant.

It is not fair but it is politics. The use of the Willie Horton ad in 1988 by the George H.W. Bush campaign was criticized as playing the race card. Yet the same type of ad criticizing Horton's release under Massachussetts Governor Mike Dukakis' prison furlough program was used by the Al Gore campaign in the primaries earlier that year but no one said Gore played the race card. Go figure.

Posted by: danielhancock | May 20, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Mr. McCain has almost completed his transformation in to Bush.

Posted by: Franky | May 20, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Good for him. Now Hillary needs to do the same! Let's thank her for her hard work and dedication, and ask her to step aside. We need to start focusing on winning this fall!

Posted by: NY Voter | May 20, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Good for him - keeping his word. :-)

Posted by: wolf | May 20, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

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