McCain’s New Message Machine — Maybe Not ’Til Monday?

By Natalie Gewargis

Jul 3, 2008 4:22pm

FROM GUEST-BLOGGER RICK KLEIN, from ABC’s The Note.

So the new structure is in place, and what do we have to show for the final day of Sen. John McCain’s latest foreign trip? A photo op with Jeb Bush? With no disrespect to the former governor of Florida, doesn’t he have the wrong last name to be anywhere near McCain these days?

One of the really telling details in today’s coverage of the Steve Schmidt takeover is this quote in The New York Times, from senior McCain adviser Charlie Black, referring to McCain’s current trip to Colombia and Mexico:

“Somebody asked, ‘What’s the strategy behind this?’ " Black said. "It’s simple. McCain says he wants to go to these places, and we say, of course."

OK now — the candidate’s the candidate, and he gets to decide where he wants to go. But isn’t it the job of someone on staff to say no to the candidate from time to time? (Might it have been a start to point out that the media just might mention a meeting with anyone named Bush?)

With the new job report out today, McCain was also left announcing the need for a “jobs first” program while traveling in Mexico — the country where some Democrats and their allies in Big Labor would argue the lost jobs went.

“Maybe the ‘first’ thing McCain should do to reverse the job losses Americans are suffering under Bush economic policies is to reject those policies instead of vowing to double down on them,” the DNC’s Brad Woodhouse e-mailed around today, sinking the free throw.

But maybe we should cut Schmidt and company some slack. This guidance comes from the McCain campaign, about what to expect when he turns his attention to the economy full-bore starting Monday:

“John McCain will set the stage for the week by announcing his jobs-first economic plan in Colorado, kicking off five days of economic themed activity in critical battleground states. Be on the lookout for local campaign activity in states where Barack Obama is traveling, to highlight Obama’s vote to raise income taxes on people making as little as $32,000 per year. We have learned over the past few weeks that it is important to examine the actions behind Obama’s words, and these events will point out his record on the issue of taxes.”

We’ll be watching . . .

– Rick Klein

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