McCain Picks Campaign Chief

ABC News' David Chalian Reports: For the third time in as many days, a top-tier presidential hopeful is revealing who will serve as his/her campaign manager.  On Tuesday we learned former Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) plans to head up the day to day operations for the Edwards campaign should the former Senator choose to officially make the race.  Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that top Clinton adviser, Patti Solis Doyle, will serve as campaign chief if/when Sen. Clinton formally jumps in.

Later today, Sen. John McCain's exploratory committee plans to announce veteran GOP campaign operative Terry Nelson as his pick to be his national campaign manager, should the Senator choose to turn his exploring into a full-blown run for the White House.

"We couldn't be more pleased that John asked Terry to oversee the daily operation of the campaign if the McCains decide to move forward. All of us -- Rick (Davis), Mark (Salter), and me -- look forward to a crash course in metrics," McCain's top political strategist John Weaver told ABC News.

"Terry brings strong leadership, detailed and current knowledge, a wide range of impressive contacts nationally, and a drive to our core group," Weaver added.The Washington Post was first to report the McCain camp's initial Nelson primary victory back in March when he joined McCain's Straight Talk America PAC as a senior adviser. LINK

Nelson served as national political director for Bush-Cheney '04.  He has served in senior roles in both the political and field/grassroots organizing arenas at the RNC and the NRCC. 

Nelson's hire is clearly a huge get, but will not come without controversy.  Nelson made political headlines in the 2006 cycle as the strategist tapped to head up the RNC's independent expenditure which was responsible for that extremely controversial ad in Tennessee against Harold Ford, Jr. featuring a young blonde actress portraying a woman who met Ford at a Playboy party and who suggestively asks him to call her at the end of the ad.  (It caused enough heartache for one of Nelson's other clients, Working Families for Wal-Mart, that they sought and received his resignation after the episode.) Nelson was also tied up in the recently settled New Hampshire phone jamming case and in Tom DeLay's TRMPAC troubles from his days at the RNC.

The left-leaning blogs will certainly jump on this with gusto.  Here's a little preview of what may be coming from a September 2006 posting by MyDD's Matt Stoller.LINK

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