Rove Legacy Tails McCain's New Top Dog

Schmidt takes the reins
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2008 3:05 PM CDT
Steve Schmidt, an adviser to Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Steve Schmidt is the new captain of the McCain campaign ship, which an ex-operative compares to the "Pirates of the Caribbean." Known as a taskmasker and carrying the seemingly oxymoronic reputation of a moderate Karl Rove protégé, Steve Schmidt isn't showing his hand just yet. The New Republic tries to dig a little deeper.

A longtime Bush White House figure, Schmidt made his bones managing Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2006 re-election campaign and joined the then-high-flying McCain campaign soon after. Not what he's secured the corner office, how the Rove DNA manifests itself remains to be seen, but "under Schmidt's direction the overall message has been much more aggressive, for better or for worse."