Bombshell: McCain’s campaign manager, chief strategist “resign”; Update: Chief of staff out too?

posted at 11:55 am on July 10, 2007 by Allahpundit

Easy prediction: You’ll see more than one hack story about this open with a comparison between the state of his campaign and the state of “the war he’s supported so stubbornly” or something along those lines.

John McCain’s campaign manager and chief strategist are gone from their leadership roles, a major staff shake-up for the struggling Republican presidential candidate who is all but broke and trails in opinion polls.

In statements, Terry Nelson, a veteran of President Bush’s successful 2004 re-election effort, said he resigned as campaign manager effective immediately and John Weaver said he stepped down from his post of chief strategist on Tuesday. But other officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid discussing private conversations, said Nelson was fired.

You may remember Weaver from this depth charge back in March as the guy who allegedly pushed St. John to embrace the maverick within and formally join the Democrats. Presumably he was allowed to fall on his own sword. He and Nelson did the honors last week by announcing the disappointing 2Q fundraising totals and resulting layoffs of 50 aides. I wonder if they knew at the time that the axe had fallen on them too. Probably — with McCain on his way to Iraq, maybe he offered to withhold the announcement for a week knowing that the media would be more interested in what he saw in Baghdad once he got back and that would help bury this news. But if it’s the case that both of them already knew they were out, why did they announce last week that Nelson would be working without pay for the foreseeable future? Why bother with that detail when he’d be out within a week anyway?

Between this and McCain’s growing isolation on Iraq, you’d better get your campaign death pool picks in as soon as possible. Exit question: If Fred hires these two on, does it confirm that he really is just McCain with a southern accent?

Update: Marc Ambinder says Mark Salter, McCain’s chief of staff, is on his way out too — and neither he nor Nelson nor Weaver parted with J-Mac amicably.

Update: As Olby would say, “Resign.”


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What will it take for The Maverick™ to admit it’s over?

Slublog on July 10, 2007 at 12:00 PM

Hey Weaver, stay away from Fred!

Valiant on July 10, 2007 at 12:00 PM

Exit question: If Fred hires these two on, does it confirm that he really is just McCain with a southern accent?

Yes, probably. Unless he can’t find any real conservatives.

jaime on July 10, 2007 at 12:00 PM

Just read this on MSN. I can’t see it changing anything. McCain has killed his own campaign with goofy comments like the Bomb Bomb Iran song. Reminded me of the Dean Scream. Just not very Presidential. I liked him, but he seems to be a little unhindged lately. Pack it in. Better luck next time.

Masscon on July 10, 2007 at 12:04 PM

I was just listening to McCain’s speech in the Senate on his trip to Iraq. It seemed passionate and honest though he did seem sort of subdued. He said that the entire time he was there he did not hear a single troop ask for withdrawal. Though I disagree with McCain on somethings his stance on the war has been consistent the entire time and I can do nothing but respect him for that.

Complete7 on July 10, 2007 at 12:08 PM

So when’s the official campaign funeral? And am I supposed to send flowers or donate to a good cause (Fred!)?

Jonas Parker on July 10, 2007 at 12:08 PM

I honestly though McCain would make it through July and drop out in the dead month of August when no one was paying attention. Now I wonder if he’ll survive until 7/31. In any case when Fred formally hops in it’s over for John. No money, no attention, no support. When is he up for re-election to the Senate?

Thomas the Wraith on July 10, 2007 at 12:09 PM

Can’t happen soon enough to a nicer guy

infidelpride on July 10, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Let’s hope this is the first in a long series of RINO downfalls.

infidel4life on July 10, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Sounds like it is time for Johnny Boy here to admit that reality has at last sunk in, the fat lady has sung, the sun has set into the west, and that it is time to pack it in. But knowing McCain, don’t expect that to happen just yet.

pilamaye on July 10, 2007 at 12:15 PM

He’ll never do that, he’ll blame talk radio for creating an atmosphere of hatred against illegals, and never admit that the people didn’t want shamnesty.

He spent too much time inside the beltway, and was seduced by the “I know better than you” mentality.

While I respect his service and sacrifice to our great nation while wearing a uniform, I could never have supported the RINO.

rightside on July 10, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Aw…I hope would be vice-president Lindsay Graham doesn’t throw another hissy fit on the Senate floor!

SouthernGent on July 10, 2007 at 12:21 PM

I’m all broken up over this.

The Race Card on July 10, 2007 at 12:23 PM

Now that illegal alien hysteria is over — for the time being — I am thinking about the real issue in this campaign: the war on terrorists and IslamoNazis.

The two strongest proponents left in America would seem to be McCain and Liebermania. I say we forgive and forget; it’s The Third Way for me!

Jaibones on July 10, 2007 at 12:25 PM

He’s going to say his stance on the war was the reason he was unable to stay in, when the inevitable happens. Never once acknowledging he was on shaky ground starting out with McCain/Feingold, the Gang of 14, and rounding out the excellent choices he has made…Kennedy/McCain. He. Was. Never. Going. To. Get. The. Nomination.

Sue on July 10, 2007 at 12:36 PM

Glad to see his campaign tank like this. It feels awesome.

Bad Candy on July 10, 2007 at 12:39 PM

The two strongest proponents left in America would seem to be McCain and Liebermania. I say we forgive and forget; it’s The Third Way for me!

Surely you jest!

SouthernGent on July 10, 2007 at 12:46 PM

I respect him for his military service… but that’s about it.

Nineball on July 10, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Did the immigration fiasco claim its first victim!!!!
How many to go?
Hopefully Lots and LOTTs!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on July 10, 2007 at 12:54 PM

You simply cannot cavort with senate liberals; pander to Chrisie Matthews; plot behind the backs of your senate contemporaries; stymie debate on important issues by making back room deals; bad mouth your party’s political base; and, still expect to secure your party’s nomination for president. Too bad McCain but not unexpected

rplat on July 10, 2007 at 12:55 PM

You may remember Weaver from this depth charge back in March as the guy who allegedly pushed St. John to embrace the maverick within and formally join the Democrats.

And he stayed on the staff for six years after that colossal stroke of idiocy?

The Democrats support the Hell out of McCain while he’s running a Fifth Column from inside the Republican Party. But they would tear him apart if he tried to put a (D) after his name, and kept supporting the military.

logis on July 10, 2007 at 12:58 PM

The Democrats support the Hell out of McCain while he’s running a Fifth Column from inside the Republican Party. But they would tear him apart if he tried to put a (D) after his name, and kept supporting the military.

logis on July 10, 2007 at 12:58 PM

Interesting you should say that. I have always wondered if he would flip and then be invited to run as VP on the dem ticket. He’s probably beyond even that now.

RushBaby on July 10, 2007 at 1:19 PM

Watching McCain’s presidential aspirations imploding brings to mind the same song that Don Meredith used to sing at the end of “Monday Night Football”:

Turn out the lights, the party’s over…

I’ve not been one for “ritual purfication” of the Republican Party, but watching the petty, spiteful, media-whorish, self-destructive behavior of its leadership is causing me to have a spiritual conversion of sorts.

McCain’s political head mounted on the end of a pike has a grimly satisfying quality to it. Next up: Pete Domenici, Gordon Smith, and Chuck Hagel getting marched up the steps of the Aztec temple, to have their beating hearts cut out to please the Gods of the Angry Base.

Spurius Ligustinus on July 10, 2007 at 1:38 PM

It was McCain’s own actions, not a mismanaged campaign, that landed him in deep manure. It shouldn’t be too long before he throws in the towel. Problem is who will he endorse- Hillary or the Republican candidate?

MaiDee on July 10, 2007 at 1:43 PM

McCain, himself, placed the final nail in his own coffin by his backroom deal with Kennedy over amnesty. His position on the war was the best thing he had going for him among the Republican base. But he pissed it all away over amnesty.

georgej on July 10, 2007 at 1:56 PM

My death pool choice, with some sentimentality; Bastille Day 7/14.

TexasDan on July 10, 2007 at 2:15 PM

Na na na na…na na na na…

WisCon on July 10, 2007 at 2:29 PM

McCain is not Able.

saved on July 10, 2007 at 2:38 PM

He’ll announce that he’s out – same day Fred announces that he’s in. Media goes zig, then zag.

Entelechy on July 10, 2007 at 2:44 PM

Problem is who will he endorse- Hillary or the Republican candidate?

MaiDee on July 10, 2007 at 1:43 PM

He and Fred were apparently friends, having sat next to each other in the Senate. Likely he’d get his endorsement… the question being whether he’d want it.

Hollowpoint on July 10, 2007 at 3:19 PM

McCain’s political head mounted on the end of a pike has a grimly satisfying quality to it. Next up: Pete Domenici, Gordon Smith, and Chuck Hagel getting marched up the steps of the Aztec temple, to have their beating hearts cut out to please the Gods of the Angry Base.

Satisfying or not, does anybody else see a problem with this picture?

The only people being sacrificed on this particular altar are Republicans. That’s why the Democrats couldn’t care less about their approval ratings – it doesn’t matter that the issue of immigration hurts them. All that matters is that it hurts Republicans MORE.

I know this sounds like a crazy thing to say, but insatiable bloodlust doesn’t always WORK nearly as well as it FEELS.

logis on July 10, 2007 at 3:46 PM

I hope John bows out with grace and class. Whatever he is as a candidate, he is a real live American hero. Not many of them left in the world. It’s just a shame that politics and heroism don’t make good bed fellows.

csdeven on July 10, 2007 at 4:13 PM

Buh-bye

Alden Pyle on July 10, 2007 at 4:59 PM

McCain, himself, placed the final nail in his own coffin by his backroom deal with Kennedy over amnesty. His position on the war was the best thing he had going for him among the Republican base. But he pissed it all away over amnesty.

Bingo

saiga on July 10, 2007 at 5:44 PM

With a chance to reflect, it seems even more stupid for so many Senators to support amnesty and try to convince the public it was not amnesty. The illegals come here in a shrowd of corruption and it stays with them the entire time they are here. Amnesty institutionalizes the “culture of corruption” world the illegals choose. We need to show that the rule of law prevails in the United States and that crime doesn’t pay.

saiga on July 10, 2007 at 5:49 PM

Oops! Guess us rubes out here in middle America have the last laugh Senator! Oh to you and El Presidente’…”see you at the signing”…

sabbott on July 10, 2007 at 6:24 PM

I am thinking that a prerequisite for the job of president is to have your finger on the pulse of not only the nation but also the world. Now there is this McCain guy, can he not maybe pick up on the vibe that he is done.

For the love of Pete, stick a fork in it!

That goes for Ron “the Fife” Paul too!

TheSitRep on July 10, 2007 at 6:45 PM

maybe they quite to take up johnny boy on his offer to pick cabage in the arizona desert for 50$ a hour

Mojack420 on July 10, 2007 at 7:26 PM

I heard if Billary wins she will make McCain her Homeland Defense Secretary…..During these pres. debates, it gives me the willies, to see Mcinsane standing next to Tom Tancrendo a true PATRIOT who has been fighting for years to secure our borders..don’t abandon Tom now gentlemen, he needs us NOW !!!

Legions on July 10, 2007 at 9:51 PM

ckquote>

saiga on July 11, 2007 at 2:55 PM

maybe they quite to take up johnny boy on his offer to pick cabage in the arizona desert for 50$ a hour

saiga on July 11, 2007 at 2:56 PM