Monday, April 07, 2008
March 8, 2008 11:33 AM EST
John McCain is getting much more than President Bush's endorsement and fundraising help for his campaign. He’s getting Bush's staff.
It’s no secret that Steve Schmidt, Bush’s attack dog in the 2004 election, and Mark McKinnon, the president’s media strategist, are performing similar functions for McCain now.
But other big-name Bushies are lining up to boost McCain, too.
Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush’s 2004 campaign, is now serving as an unpaid, outside adviser to the Arizona Republican. Karl Rove, the president’s top political hand since his Texas days, recently gave money to McCain and soon after had a private conversation with the senator. A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.
The list could grow longer. Dan Bartlett, formerly a top aide in the Bush White House, and Sara Taylor, the erstwhile Bush political adviser, said they are eager to provide any assistance and advice possible to McCain.
Rove explained that he and McCain “got to know each other during the 2004 campaign.” In a separate interview, Mehlman noted that “McCain was completely loyal to the president in 2004 and worked incredibly hard to help him get elected.” According to Taylor, “The Bush Republicans here in town are excited for John McCain.”...(Click here for remainder of post.)