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Thursday, December 07, 2006
McCain making '08 moves
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain has signed up several key political operatives including a former top campaign staffer to President Bush, in the event the Arizona senator decides to make a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Terry Nelson, political director in Bush's successful 2004 re-election bid, has signed on to be the campaign manager, while Mike Dennehy will serve as the Arizonan's political director. Dennehy ran McCain's 2000 primary campaign in New Hampshire when McCain came from behind to defeat then-Texas Gov. Bush.

Nelson recently made headlines for approving a controversial television ad paid for by the Republican National Committee's independent expenditure arm that was critical of Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tennessee, who was running for Senate. Critics complained the ad was racially charged.

In addition, Brian Jones, who serves as the communications director for the RNC, will run communications for the McCain campaign.

GOP pollster Lance Tarrance will serve as the director of research, and Bill McInturff will be McCain's primary pollster.

These new positions will bolster McCain's current inner circle that includes longtime McCain chief of staff Mark Salter, top strategist John Weaver, veteran GOP operative Rick Davis, and Straight Talk America executive director Craig Goldman.

-- CNN's Dana Bash and John King
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