In the unlikely event of an emergency: John McCain, right, consults with campaign adviser Steve Schmidt on the campaign charter airplane en route to Philadelphia in April.
“Fun Steve is dead” was the announcement that Steve Schmidt, the McCain campaign adviser who The New York Times notes “worked closely with Karl Rove” in 2002 and 2004, made to his team at a particularly low moment last summer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the bombastic tactics Team McCain has since adopted can be traced to the demise of “Fun Steve.”
The New York Times:
Mr. Schmidt is considered by members of both parties to have a superior sense of a greatly altered news media environment, caused by the proliferation of political Web sites and blogs, providing all different ways of getting out information. This new environment, he has told friends, is easily manipulated because of round-the-clock thirst for news, increased competition, lowered standards created by the proliferation of outlets and hunger for the outrageous.
It was Mr. Schmidt, a fan of both pop culture and Ultimate Fighting, who pressed for the campaign to include Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in advertisements attacking Mr. Obama, aides said. It was Mr. Schmidt, they said, who pushed to drive blogs and other media organizations to present Mr. Obama’s outdoor convention setting as a pretentious temple by circulating photographs of columns and sending out a news release calling it the “Temple of Obama,” which were gobbled up by Web sites and cable television shows.