Major Bush pals Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove are jumping aboard the Straight Talk Express, both informally advising John McCain, a top aide to the GOP hopeful tells Politico. Mehlman, who ran Bush’s 2004 campaign, is an unpaid, outside adviser, while Rove recently donated to McCain and had a closed-door conversation with the senator. The pair add to an increasing number of Bushies on the trail.
Steve Schmidt, another 2004 Bush campaigner, and Mark McKinnon, the president’s media strategist, are already working hard for McCain, and two others close to Bush have expressed their willingness to help. It’s unclear whether ties to the unpopular administration will backfire for McCain; for now, the goal is to solidify the GOP base, which still supports Bush, said a campaign adviser.