From New York Times Blog
McCain Powers Up His Media Team
By Jim Rutenberg
Senator John McCain has enlisted the core players of President Bushâ€™s advertising team, adding them to what was already a group of bare-knuckled political advertising strategists working for his nascent campaign.
The Caucus has it exclusively that the senatorâ€™s 2008 exploratory committee is set to announce today that he has hired Russ Schriefer, Stuart Stevens and Fred Davis.
Mr. Schriefer and Mr. Stevens served on Mr. Bushâ€™s media team in 2000 and 2004 and unleashed some of the presidentâ€™s hardest charging ads.
Among the most memorable:
*John Kerry saying â€œI voted for it before I voted it against itâ€ on that yearâ€™s $87 billion war appropriation.
*John Kerry windsurfing this way and that (whichever way the wind blows, get it?) in front of a ferry spurting water out of its bilge.
*Weapons systems disappearing off a desert battle-staging scene as an announcer ticks off those Mr. Kerry voted against.
And thatâ€™s just the top of their ad playlist.
Mr. Schriefer and Mr. Stevens also worked on the heated advertising campaign against Mr. McCain during the 2000 primary season â€“Â apparently impressing Mr. McCain, at least retrospectively. That experience may give them an edge in predicting spots likely to come from opponents this time around.
Mr. Davis is based in Hollywood, Calif., and has a cinematic style. He worked on, among others, the initial spots of the 2004 campaign in which Mr. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush spoke directly into the camera in the White House residence.
These days, heâ€™s one of the rare Republicans riding atop wins in the latest campaign season â€” Â having worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bob Corker in Tennessee.
The newly hired consultants join a high-powered team already stacked with headliners, including Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm â€” the firm that produced the ads for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that attacked Mr. Kerry.
And letâ€™s not forget that Mr. McCain accumulated top-tier talent by bringing on Mark McKinnon, Mr. Bushâ€™s chief media strategist in 2004.
People familiar with the structure of the latest deal say Mr. McKinnon will take on a sort of senior advisory role and Mr. Schriefer will fill the chief strategist role that Mr. McKinnon filled for Mr. Bush and will oversee the day-to-day media operation. Mr. Davis