Steve Schmidt is senior adviser to Senator John McCain. Schmidt was with McCain when he was the frontrunner the first time around last year, and when he was flying coach and staying in budget motels as a seeming long-shot late last year before the maverick Western senator and Vietnam War hero slowly but surely rebuilt his candidacy and won big victories in the New Hampshire, Florida, and California primaries.
Schmidt, a senior advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a principal in the Mercury Public Affairs firm, was Schwarzenegger’s campaign manager when he recovered from a huge deficit in the blue state California polls at the beginning of 2006 to win a 17-point landslide re-election victory in November of that year.
Prior to that, Schmidt, a protege of Karl Rove, directed the Bush/Cheney campaign war room in the 2004 presidential election, one of the tightest presidential campaigns in recent memory. Following the re-election of President Bush, Schmidt served as the counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. In that capacity, with the White House’s highest staff security clearance aside from that of the chief of staff and national security advisor, Schmidt worked in Baghdad to improve the strategic communications operations of the Iraqi government and also shepherded the successful U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Sam Alito.