The McCain campaign recently announced the appointment of Steve Schmidt as Senior Advisor, reporting to Rick Davis. The press of course, presented this as a major shake up, which it was not. Rather it was the positive and natural evolution in a campaign organization that is morphing from a small start up company to a larger organization almost overnight. As Deputy National Finance Chairman, I’ve had the opportunity to view this first hand.
Having been President and CEO of two major companies; Northwest Airlines and Marriott Hotels, as well as National Campaign Manager for former President Bush, I have some understanding of organizational needs, and view this as a great move. Rick Davis is the man who engineered one of the greatest political comebacks in recent U.S. history, operating with minimal funding, and helping John McCain capture the nomination after the media and many people had written him off last summer and fall. Rick remains as the Campaign CEO, with more time to focus on large emerging challenges such as the Republican Convention and selection of a running mate. In addition, we now have in Steve Schmidt, a chief operating officer who was earned enormous and well deserved respect for his political, strategic and operational accomplishments. It also has been a natural evolution, with Steve spending more time at headquarters in the weeks preceding his appointment, so he has been able to hit the ground running. Thus, overall, I view this as a superb organizational development and am excited by Steve’s new role and the added leadership he will bring to the campaign.