After President Bush’s endorsement of John McCain, key advisers to the Bush administration joined the McCain campaign, hoping to duplicate their previous success in the upcoming 2008 Republican bid.
On March 8, 2008, David Paul Kuhn at Politico.com reports:
John McCain is getting much more than President Bush’s endorsement and fundraising help for his campaign. Heâ€™s getting Bush’s staff.
Itâ€™s no secret that Steve Schmidt, Bushâ€™s attack dog in the 2004 election, and Mark McKinnon, the presidentâ€™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 Bushâ€™s 2004 campaign, is now serving as an unpaid, outside adviser to the Arizona Republican. Karl Rove, the presidentâ€™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 â€œgot to know each other during the 2004 campaign.â€ In a separate interview, Mehlman noted that â€œMcCain was completely loyal to the president in 2004 and worked incredibly hard to help him get elected.â€ According to Taylor, â€œThe Bush Republicans here in town are excited for John McCain.â€