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Schmidt, in Memo, Consolidates Control Over Campaign


Sen. John McCain talks with senior adviser Steve Schmidt, left, after arriving in Romulus, Mich., earlier this year. (Associated Press)

By Michael D. Shear
The first evidence of Steve Schmidt's new role at the helm of the John McCain campaign came today in the form of a memo to his regional campaign managers (as first reported by The Fix), lauding their work but informing them that there will be new leadership at the top.

Schmidt confirmed that he will be hiring a national political director and a field director -- decisions that essentially undo the plan to give great autonomy to the regional managers.

But Schmidt nonetheless went out of his way to praise the regional leaders, saying they had done much in a short period of time to assemble a McCain team on the ground.

"You have built statewide and county leadership teams in the targeted states and in the coming months will even further develop our organizations to the precinct level in every state that will decide this election," he wrote. "It is an incredible amount of progress for a campaign that ended the primaries with no money, little infrastructure, and no formal organization outside the early primary states."

The full memo is below:

MEMORANDUM

TO: Regional Campaign Managers
FROM: Steve Schmidt
DATE: July 3, 2008
SUBJECT: Regional Operations

With 124 days to go until the election, our campaign is now leaning more and more on your regional operations to continue Senator McCain's success and growth. Over the last month when we began deploying our field operations, you have done a fantastic job of opening the 11 regional offices in key states, staffing those offices with over 70 staff, and deploying 17 state directors across the country. You have built statewide and county leadership teams in the targeted states and in the coming months will even further develop our organizations to the precinct level in every state that will decide this election. It is an incredible amount of progress
for a campaign that ended the primaries with no money, little infrastructure, and no formal organization outside the early primary states.

In addition, you have successfully worked with the Republican National Committee through the Victory effort to open 84 offices and put 113 staff into the field. Hundreds more field staff will be hitting the ground in the coming weeks and more Victory Centers opening, all of which will work together with our regional campaign managers and the RNC regional political directors to help elect John McCain and Republicans around the country.

In order to strengthen our regional operations and provide better coordination between our headquarters and the regions, we are going to be adding a Political Director and a Field Director to our headquarters organization. These individuals will work with all of you and with Christian Ferry to increase our capacity to reach out to voters, build coalitions, identify supporters, and ultimately turn them out to the polls on November 4. We will be enhancing our headquarters political capacity to provide additional resources to you and your regions.

The organizations you are leading are providing important coordination in the field between all the various aspects of our campaign - whether that is political organization, finance, surrogates, communications, coalitions etc. In the days ahead, we will be working to enhance and strengthen the coordination between all these aspects of the campaign. By putting emphasis on our regional operations and hiring experienced managers such as you, we have built a campaign that will be nimble when it counts and close to the ground where grassroots activity will drive our message and efforts.

We have all been involved in presidential campaigns in the past, but this campaign is special because of the unique honor of working for a candidate like John McCain - a man who never surrenders. With 124 days to go, we have one job - electing John McCain the next President of the United States. I am confident that with our team, we will get the job done.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 3, 2008; 12:56 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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