Was Steve Schmidt Qualified to Be McCain’s Campaign Manager?

By Gary P Jackson

Those who were paying attention during the 2008 presidential election know of John McCain’s campaign manager Steve Schmidt, and his equally incompetent cohort Nicole Wallace. We also know that the Schmidt’s many failures during that election were so strong, and so damaging to his already dubious reputation, he, and Wallace, looked for a scapegoat to pin the blame on.

In fact, as John Nolte reported on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood a memo was released that proves the attempt to “save” Schmidt and help rewrite history in a way to make him look good, and Sarah Palin, the only bright spot in that campaign, look bad.

Schmidt has consistently lied about the facts of the campaign. Many of those lies ended up in the failed HBO movie Game Change. As Stacy Drake pointed out, HBO’s own graphics department helped prove the lies, as they had a “time stamp”” on one scene, describing an incident that never occurred, but was depicted in the movie.

As Stacy proved, at the exact time Schmidt and company alleged Governor Palin was having some sort of mental breakdown, she was in fact out at a campaign event and having a damned good time! Stacy even includes video backup of the events!

Many in the GOP are repeating the lie that Sarah wasn’t vetted, something completely debunked years ago by none other than A.B. Culvahouse, the former Reagan adviser turned high powered D.C. attorney, who vetted all of the prospective vice presidential candidates for John McCain. It’s their objective to repeat the lie long enough that it becomes accepted fact.

With that said, Whitney Pitcher wonders why no one has taken time to vet Steve Schmidt. Had the McCain campaign done their due diligence, and vetted this petty little man, Senator McCain might just be President McCain instead. As Whitney points out Schmidt’s entire résumé is cluttered with failure upon failure. Add in the fact he has no problem dumping on his former employers rather than own up to his own inability to perform, and you start to see where the problem with 2008 truly lies.

Here’s a taste of what Whitney writes for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government:

In a recent article at the National Review, John McCain’s failed 2008 campaign manager Steve Schmidt is quoted as saying “it will be a very long time before questions about capability and preparedness are not a part of the process.” The implication is that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was neither “prepared” nor “capable” to be vice president in the 2008 cycle, and that now hangs over the current vice presidential selection process.

In his comments about the VP selection process, Schmidt indicates a pretty simple concept– “capability and preparedness” are characteristics that a presidential nominee would seek in his or her running mate.

However, Schmidt’s comments indicate that the selection process and the entire campaign he was involved in during 2008 did not consider such factors, which leads one to ask, “did Steve Schmidt have the ‘capability and preparedness’ necessary to perform his role as campaign strategist?

In other words, let the vetting of Steve Schmidt begin.

The 42 year-old New Jersey native’s campaign experience started with work for four failed state and national races during his mid to late twenties—ranging from the Kentucky Attorney General’s race in 1995 to working as Communication Director for Lamar Alexander’s 2000 presidential bid. He also managed failed Lt. Governor and Senatorial bids in California in 1998.

Schmidt later worked in a few Republican party positions before becoming both a part of the Bush White House and the Bush re-election campaign in 2004, working with Karl Rove and overseeing the re-election “war room.” In fact, he was often called a “Rove protégé,” playing a senior role in the Bush 2004 re-election and later working for the Bush administration on Iraq media communication and with the confirmation processes of Bush Supreme Court appointees . He later worked on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign in 2006.

Steve Schmidt was picked up by the McCain campaign in December of 2006 as a senior adviser to Senator McCain’s presidential campaign-in-waiting. Schmidt was later given “full operational control” of McCain’s presidential bid, amidst some dissatisfaction with the campaign’s trajectory.

[ …. ]

In short, Schmidt was in control of the political and messaging operations of the campaign. Two messaging strategies proved to be costly for the McCain campaign—the handling of both McCain and Palin in general and the error of suspending the campaign in the midst of the financial crisis. The campaign was criticized for waiting nearly two weeks between Governor Palin’s introduction as the VP pick and her first interview with Charlie Gibson.

E-mails of Governor Palin’s obtained by the Anchorage Daily News in January of 2009 noted that prior to being selected as the VP candidate, Governor Palin was slated to give interviews to Newsweek, NPR, Fox News and a host of other outlets at the RNC convention as a McCain campaign surrogate. Yet after she was picked as VP, she was silenced and kept from the media.

This poor campaign messaging approach and shackling of the personable Palin allowed the biased media—including the likes of Tina Fey—to set the tone and narrative of the debate over Palin. Thus, much of the public to this day believe Fey’s words about the proximity of Palin’s home to Russia were instead Palin’s words. The media drove the campaign to be defensive and incoherent rather than assertive and clear.

A third messaging strategy sprouted from the failures of the first two. Leaked memos from the waning days of the McCain campaign indicated that Schmidt and his buddies aimed to protect Schmidt’s reputation in the impending electoral loss. These memos and Schmidt’s desire to deflect blame likely provided the impetus for the anonymous lies spread about Governor Palin’s geographic knowledge following the campaign. The strategy from the leaked memos included reaching out to “influential reporters.” One of these reporters included Game Change co-author Mark Halperin.

Fast forward to 2012, and Schmidt is still attempting to save face by projecting his failures as an incapable strategist onto the Vice Presidential candidate he helped choose and who provided the only spark in an otherwise exceedingly dull campaign. This is why Schmidt played an admitted instrumental role as one of the sources for Halperin’s book and in the HBO adaptation of the book, which fallaciously disparaged Palin while painting a sympathetic image of Schmidt.

For example, the film adaptation of Game Change, whose premiere Schmidt attended, misrepresented the Troopergate scandal [Or as Sarah calls it Tazergate ~Gary] of which Palin was exonerated. Palin’s legal counsel at the time, Thomas van Flein, recounted his first interaction with Schmidt.

Whitney has much more on Schmidt and this attempted rewrite of history, including how he failed to vet Obama properly, or highlight Sarah’s incredible record as Governor of Alaska. Click here to read it all.


Filed under In The News, Politics, sarah palin

6 responses to “Was Steve Schmidt Qualified to Be McCain’s Campaign Manager?

  1. Thank you SO much, Gary, for posting all these great Breitbart articles by some of the BEST (and pro-Palin!) bloggers around! They’re providing GREAT info and excellent details about the ugly background of Schmidt & Wallace and the effed-up McShame Campaign of 2008! I’m saving all of ’em to my special SP file…

    • Gary P Jackson

      Both Stacy and Whitney have been writing a lot for the Bigs lately. We are very glad to see it. They deserve the larger forum for sure!

      The past week has had me a tad out of commission, but there is much more to come from both.

  2. As I read about Schmidt and Wallace on Breitbart yesterday, I grieved! What a shame that these two people had such a negative impact on the campaign! Our country suffers as I see it because of their ineptness! When I read Palin’s first book and learned that someone in the GOP was restraining her from going after the WHOLE TRUTH about Obama, I kept wanting to know the names of WHO suppressed her instincts to do what she does so well—-that is to go after the liars and deceivers and expose them for WHO they are! Are these two still working within the GOP? I hope not! It seems to me that they are truly not qualified to make major decisions about so important a process as the national campaigning for the presidency. Who gave them their positions? Anyway, I know it had to be very difficult for Palin to deal with these two people. She’s had some hard knocks out there on the campaign trail and I think she weathered them extremely well. It’s a shame, Gary, that you weren’t the one who was sharing the decision-making and helping those two worthy people go all the way! I’m not an avid fan of McCain but I KNEW deeply that Sarah Palin would make a grand VP and would so impress America that she’d go on to be President one day! I’m still hurting from how she’s been treated! She’s the best there is!

    • Gary P Jackson

      I appreciate your kind words.

      Schmidt is still around causing trouble. Mostly he is the go to “conservative” that liberal media outlets call on when they want to trash a Republican. As for Nicole Wallace, her husband works with the Romney campaign.

      I doubt either Schmidt-for-Brains or Wallace will ever be trusted to work on a legit campaign again, but they will most certainly be around causing problems for decent candidates.

      The amount of lies being pushed by those two is amazing. They ruined McCain’s chance to be president, and yet, don’t have the guts to own up to it.

      I have no use for them, or their enablers.

    • Great remarks, Peg – couldn’t agree more! It’s too late now to roll back the clock on the 2008 campaign, but the more GOP (and other) Conservatives (or leaning in that direction) know the truth about the shenanigans that went on during 2008, the better we should all be prepared going forward (which may still be too late for 2012, but not for 2014 and 2016!). And, when you think about it, if those bozos at HBO hadn’t produced that POS, Game Change, maybe none of this discussion – and re-examination! – would even have taken place! So, perhaps something positive is eventually developing from that catastrophe after all!

  3. Pingback: “Republican” Steve Schmidt Joins Slobbering Bill Clinton Lovefest on MSNBC | A Time For Choosing

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