Another Ad Consultant Abandons McCain Camp

Davis Departure Leaves McKinnon in Charge

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WASHINGTON ( -- Fred Davis of Strategic Perception, Los Angeles, has left the John McCain campaign. This follows the departures earlier this week of Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens of Stevens & Schriefer Group in Washington.
Mark McKinnon is now in charge of Sen. John McCain's presidential bid.
Mark McKinnon is now in charge of Sen. John McCain's presidential bid. Credit: Scott Gries

The exodus puts Mark McKinnon in charge of the Arizona senator's ad team for the time being. Mr. McKinnon, who twice headed President George W. Bush's Maverick Media ad team, is vice chairman of Omnicom Group's Public Strategies, Austin, Texas. He had originally planned to advise the McCain campaign, but leave actual advertising to a team of Messrs. Schriefer, Stevens and Davis. They, too, were part of the Bush Maverick Media ad team and are veteran GOP media consultants.

Shake-up of campaign team
The departures follow in the wake of a shake-up of the McCain campaign's management that came amidst problems raising money and profligate spending. Mr. McCain, who started as a fron-trunner for the nomination, has drawn attacks for his support of immigration reform. The campaign has spent little money on advertising this year.

Mr. Schriefer said the departure was friendly. "We parted amicably and have great respect for the senator," he said.

Mr. Davis also cited his respect for Mr. McCain.

With the departures, Mr. McKinnon said he will play a greater role in creating Mr. McCain's ads, though he won't be working full time for the campaign as he did for President Bush.

"We needed to strip down the campaign chassis to make it to December," said Mr. McKinnon, acknowledging some of the financial problems that the McCain campaign has had.

Need to advertise not acute
Mr. McKinnon also suggested that Mr. McCain's need to advertise this year isn't as great as some rivals who lack the senator's national identity and don't have a record as a war hero.

"He can go further than anyone else because of his courageous service and leadership," said Mr. McKinnon. "When you have a great story, it's cheaper to sell."

The McCain campaign did not return several calls seeking comment.
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