Competing Ambitions Split Camp McCain

Once again, his campaign is riven by squabbling factions
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 7:30 AM CDT
Steve Schmidt, an adviser to John McCain, watches as an orange hits water bottles during a bowling game on board the campaign charter airplane, Friday, April 11, 2008.    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – John McCain inspires an uncommon degree of loyalty among the advisers and strategists who've served on his campaigns. But they are less charitable toward each other, writes Adam Nagourney in the New York Times. McCain's 2008 campaign is riven by longstanding feuds and conflicting spheres of influence—a problem compounded by the Arizona senator's reluctance to fire people or make choices among competing players.

Some of the top figures in the McCain campaign include:

  • Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protege whom many loyal McCainites regard with suspicion. There's bad blood between him and...
  • Rick Davis, a survivor of McCain's worst primary months, but demoted to make way for Schmidt.
  • Mike Murphy, a veteran of McCain's 2000 bid. He's not working on the campaign, yet, but he's stepping on others' toes by offering advice—and some see an imminent comeback.
  • And Karl Rove himself, orchestrator of McCain's downfall 8 years ago. His influence can be seen not just with Schmidt, but with other junior advisers whom he once mentored.