McCain Hires Top Bush Re-Election Adviser

Looks like Sen. McCain is gearing up for presidential race 2008 — not that that’s a surprised or anything. The AP reports he now has one of Bush’s top campaign strategists running his political action committee.

Greg Pierce’s "Inside Politics" column for the Washington Times has the details:

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and likely presidential candidate in 2008, has hired one of President Bush’s top re-election advisers to help run his political action committee, the Associated Press reports.

Terry Nelson, political director of the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, will be senior adviser to Straight Talk America, said several officials familiar with the hiring. They spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an announcement by Mr. McCain’s committee.

Mr. McCain is using the PAC to raise money and organize his travel on behalf of Republicans running in November’s midterm elections.

The PAC is also a launching pad for what most Republicans consider to be a likely presidential run by Mr. McCain. Mr. Nelson’s hiring puts him in position to play a major role should Mr. McCain seek the White House again.

Because of his vigorous support for President Bush’s re-election, McCain will most likely have the help of other top GOP strategists to shuffle him into the Oval Office in ’08, especially — as Pierce points out — if Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice don’t run.