John McCain’s campaign goes Roving.
The installation of Steve Schmidt, who worked closely with Karl Rove, at Mr. McCain’s headquarters represented a sharp diminishment of the responsibilities of Rick Davis, who has been Mr. McCain’s campaign manager since the last shake-up nearly a year ago.
The shift was approved by Mr. McCain after several of his aides, including Mr. Schmidt, went to him about 10 days ago and warned him that he was in danger of losing the presidential election to Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, unless he revamped his campaign operation, two officials close to the campaign said.
Mr. Rove, who was Mr. Bush’s senior political adviser until he left the White House last year, was said by Mr. McCain’s advisers to have offered advice in recent days to Mr. Schmidt and others on how to get Mr. McCain’s campaign on track, but has stayed mostly on the periphery. Mr. Rove is aware, his associates said, that his own legacy could be helped should Mr. McCain succeed in winning the presidency.
True to form, Mr. Rove is only interested in helping out the McCain campaign as long as it makes him look good. Why else would he do it? Certainly not to advance the discourse; after all, he’s a Republican, and all they care about is winning.
And the same can be said for Senator McCain. If you remember, it was Karl Rove & Co. that trashed him in the South Carolina primary in 2000, including spreading rumors that he had fathered a black child. But when your political life it on the line, you’ll try anything. Desperation makes strange bedfellows.