March 18, 2006


McCain Taps Former Bush Political Director (RON FOURNIER, 3/18/06, AP)

With an eye toward the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona has hired one of President Bush's top re-election advisers to help run his political action committee.

Terry Nelson, political director of the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, will be senior adviser to Straight Talk America, according to several official familiar with the hiring. They spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an announcement by McCain's committee.

McCain is using the PAC to raise money and organize his travel on behalf of Republicans running in November's midterm elections.

He's just keeping Karl's seat warm.

McCain Campaign Hires 'Best Bricklayer' (Chris Cillizza and Zachary A. Goldfarb, March 19, 2006, Washinton Post)

"Senator McCain has demonstrated a real commitment to helping our candidates up and down the ballot and I am excited to be a part of his effort," Nelson says in a statement the PAC plans to release Monday.

Nelson's formal role for Straight Talk will be to maximize the organization's influence and effectiveness in the 2006 midterm elections, but his hiring also makes a major mark on the 2008 landscape.

McCain and his chief political strategist, John Weaver, have spent much of the past year courting key members of the Bush campaign team. Until now, the majority of that recruiting has focused on the men and women -- designated Pioneers, Rangers and Super Rangers -- who each helped collect hundreds of thousands of dollars for Bush in 2000 and again in 2004. (In that vein, Straight Talk America recently received $5,000 checks from former Texas governor Bill Clements, a Republican, and lobbyist extraordinaire Ed Rogers -- a close ally of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who recently removed himself from the 2008 field.) But the hiring of Nelson shows that McCain and Weaver are not neglecting the staff side of the presidential process.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 18, 2006 6:12 PM

You mean Karl Rove, Supergenius - of Bush's massive 2nd term success?

Posted by: Bruno at March 19, 2006 8:24 AM

Or the administration has found a nice shelf upon which to store an entire campaign until '07.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 19, 2006 8:50 AM


Yes. CAFTA, Roberts & Alito, tort reform, Patriot Act, Wiretap authority, alliance with India, immigration reform, FBI expansion, UN reform, bankruptcy reform, Iraqi constitution, regime change in Palestine, Lebanon, Germany, Canada... The only more productive Congress than this one was the last two.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2006 9:22 AM

U.S. Senators are just political peter-pans: they're self-absorbtion increases over time because they really don't have to do anything except grandstand on pet issues and judicial candidates. There is no executive experience to be found in the Senate.

OJ: Why are you endlessly pimping this guy? Let him be a hero with a senatorial sinecure and leave it at that. The GOP must have potential candidates somewhere who have made a real-world decision in the last twenty years; in fact, I believe the president's own brother qualifies in this regard, as does Rudy.

Posted by: Palmcroft at March 19, 2006 9:44 AM

He doesn't need a pimp--he's our next president, to be followed by Jeb. Rudy's made mostly bad decisions.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2006 10:13 AM

I'm not a McCain fan (agree with Palmcroft) but if McCain is going to do what he can to help the GOP this election it might mean additional Senate/House seats which I won't object to.

Posted by: AWW at March 19, 2006 11:20 AM


I'm with you on most of the accomplishments you mention (immigration reform?), and I credit decent leadership skills, as do most here.

Politically, OTOH, they've been a disaster. With the economy where it is and the number of good things that have been done, 36% in polls means that some one isn't doing their job.

Yes, I know a part of that is the lingering war in Iraq, but even there, they waited too long to make their case.

You are probably right about McCain's future, but I'd feel safer with some one I could trust.

I'm hoping Romney pulls a rabbit out of the hat.

Posted by: Bruno at March 19, 2006 11:20 AM

Bruno, with the media relentlessly hyping the negative and burying the positive, and the skewed questions in the polls, the amazing thing is that the poll numbers are as high as they are.

Posted by: erp at March 19, 2006 12:34 PM


Who? The election isn't until November, in case you hadn't heard.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2006 1:31 PM

Romney's next election isn't until early '08.

If the price of gas goes back under $2.00/gallon, the President's numbers will get back over 50%.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 19, 2006 2:06 PM

Oj: Your list of legislative accomplishments left out the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, shielding the firearms industry from "junk lawsuits."

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 19, 2006 4:15 PM

For gas to get under $ 2/gal, crude would have to dip below $ 40/bbl.

While that's a rational price for oil, I'll be gobsmacked if the risk premium per barrel of crude drops to $ 10/bbl or less before Nov.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2006 9:09 PM