mccain’s top advisers quit campaign

Posted on July 10, 2007

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In a major new development to resusitate his floundering campaign, Arizona Senator John McCain and presidential-hopeful has accepted the resignation of two of his long-time advisers from his 2008 campaign.

Today, McCain’s campaign manager Terry Nelson and chief strategist John Weaver said they are leaving the campaign.

These two are reportedly forced out as McCain reacted in anger to the mismanagement of his campaign, which includes his humiliating admission last week that his campaign only has $2 million in the bank. A consequence of that might be to force McCain to have to accept public matching funds. The Washington Post said McCain confronted the two men about the spending they were still advocating despite the drying up of funds.

The exit of these two men shows how troubled the McCain candidacy is and is perceived as a desperate attempt to turn things around. It is an astonishing move, as the two men have been with McCain for a long time.

“Mr. Weaver has long been one of Mr. McCain’s closest advisers and friends. He pushed Mr. McCain to adopt a strategy, in this election, to repair frayed relations with the party’s conservative base, including making a speech at Jerry Falwell’s university. Mr. Nelson was the the political director for the 2004 campaign of President Bush,” the New York Times reports. Mr Nelson was recruited to help soften McCain’s “outsider” image and make him more electable among the Republican faithful.

Analysts expressed surprise at the news of the two men’s departure. At the same time, they questioned the viability of the McCain campaign and its ability to survive the upheaval. For months, McCain had been struggling, unable to re-capture the kind of enthusiasm and support his 2000 campaign had garnered. McCain has found himself trailing Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney in the polls among Republican hopefuls, even though he was seen as the front-runner at the start of the campaign.

McCain has hitched himself onto the wrong bandwagon, by repeatedly supporting President Bush on both Iraq and the recently-defeated immigration reform bill.

McCain is hamstrung by his obstinate support of staying the course on the Iraq war, even as other Republicans have increasingly come forward to express their doubts and withdrawal of support for the war.

The immigration reform bill was another Archilles heel for McCain, whose sponsorship of the highly-unpopular bill among Republican faithfuls with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy furthur eroded any chance of support McCain could have received from conservative Republicans. This was another reason that has been cited for the drying up of campaign funds for McCain.

In the aftermath of Nelson and Weaver’s departure, McCain’s campaign’s CEO Rick Weaver will be assuming the title of campaign manager.

Amidst all this, McCain and his people insist that he has no intentions to quit the presidential race. “In the days and weeks ahead this campaign will move forward, and I will continue to address the issues of greatest concern to the American people, laying out my vision for a secure and prosperous America,” McCain said.

But political pundits are watching how much longer McCain can hang on, or have a realistic shot at winning the Republican nomination.

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Posted in: john mccain, politics, US