Shuffle Atop McCain Team Yields Combative New Boss

Steve Schmidt takes day-to-day reins from Rick Davis, who'll focus on big picture
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2008 3:46 PM CDT
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, stands with campaign chairman Rick Davis.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – John McCain has ordered a shake-up at the helm of his campaign operation, Politico reports, with top aide Steve Schmidt taking day-to-day control from manager Rick Davis, whose focus will shift to the big picture. Schmidt, known for an aggressive style honed on President Bush's and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election battles, started with a fiery speech reminiscent of Rudy.

Senior guru Charlie Black played down the change, saying, “Steve works for Rick”—but adding that Schmidt would become “the maestro who conducts the symphony.” But Greg Sargent isn’t splitting hairs on Talking Points, declaring Davis “out as campaign manager” and adding that the demoted chief has “failed to gain enough organizational or message traction.”