'Sgt.' Schmidt Hones McCain's Pitch

Strategist hammers good about McCain, bad about Obama
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2008 9:51 AM CDT
Mark Salter, right, and Steve Schmidt, center, senior advisers to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., answer questions from reporters on McCain's chartered plane, Thursday, May...   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – Fiery Republican strategist Steve Schmidt argues that above all, a campaign needs something good to say about its own candidate, and something bad to say about the opponent. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how 'Sgt. Schmidt', newly given the reins to John McCain's campaign, is methodically and unequivocally remaking the presidential bid with that approach.

Schmidt has insisted on persistently hammering out not only talking points, but a finely-tuned manner in which to deliver them. Though one former aide likens proximity to Schmidt to being in "a small house at the base of a volcano," another says of lessons from the volatile strategist "would always make you forget the part where you basically wanted to crash a chair over his head."