The Man, and the Message, McCain's Been Missing

Enter '00 mastermind Mike Murphy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2008 7:48 AM CDT
Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to senior campaign adviser, Steve Schmidt, before briefing reporters on his charter plane en route to a campaign event in Chicago, Friday,...   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Mike Murphy, the irreverent mastermind behind John McCain’s 2000 presidential bid, is poised to swoop in and rescue his stalled 2008 effort, writes William Kristol in the New York Times. Murphy sat out the primaries because he was close to both Romney and McCain, but with McCain’s machine spinning its wheels—making him look less presidential now than he did when he clinched the nomination—the frustrated Arizona senator is planning to bring Murphy on as chief strategist.

McCain’s move last week to put Bush-Rove alum Steve Schmidt in charge of the day-to-day campaign was a preamble to installing Murphy, Kristol’s sources tell him. McCain has hesitated, because Murphy hasn’t made a secret of his disdain for the Rove establishment types that dominate the team. But McCain "desperately needs a message and a narrative that is both appropriate for the candidate and for the times," he writes. "Thinking such a complex challenge through, and executing it, is Murphy’s strength."