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Thursday, December 21, 2006
McCain taps former Bush, Schwarzenegger aide
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain has recruited his latest Bush presidential campaign veteran for a top post in his possible White House bid, his exploratory committee announced Thursday.

Steve Schmidt, a former spokesman for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and most recently campaign manager of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's successful re-election bid, will join McCain's operation as a senior adviser. He has previously served as deputy assistant to the president and counselor to the Vice President in the Bush White House, and as communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Schmidt is the latest Bush-Cheney campaign operative to sign on with McCain, who lost the 2000 Republican presidential nomination to Bush. Others include former Bush campaign political director Terry Nelson, who now serves as McCain's campaign manager, and Mark McKinnon, the president's long-time media strategist who will serve a similar function for the Arizona Republican.

"Steve Schmidt's professionalism, strategic vision and political acumen have brought success to nearly every organization he's been a part of," McCain said in a statement. "I am excited to have him as part of our team."

McCain has said he will announce his presidential plans after the new year.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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