McCain Campaign Crowd Strong on Foreign Policy Experience

At a recent Manhattan fundraiser, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) was asked whom he is relying on for foreign policy advice in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He listed Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Robert Kagan, George Schultz, Lawrence Eagleburger, William Kristol and Robert Zoellick. “And, you’ll be surprised how often I touch base with that circuit” he told the crowd.

McCain hasn’t created a formal team of foreign policy advisers, but prefers to keep these experts “on call” to consult him as he sees fit. At the event, McCain singled out Kissinger in particular. “When I have a question about something that’s going on in the world, I call Dr. Kissinger, and he is able to connect the dots for me,” McCain said. “It is easy to be an expert on one aspect of some international situation. He’s one of the only people I’ve ever known who can connect the entire scenario for you in a way that you understand the completeness of the challenge.”

Compared to the two other major GOP candidates — former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — who, with him, are often referred to as the “Big Three,” McCain has wrapped up the strongest group of foreign policy advisers.

McCain has also surrounded himself with a bevy of strategists who worked on his 2000 bid for the presidency, as well as many who worked President Bush’s re-election campaign.

Here’s a sampling of those whom McCain will be relying upon in his second White House bid:

Lawrence Eagleburger
Secretary of State from 1992-93, deputy secretary of State from 1989-92, undersecretary of State for political affairs 1981-82, assistant secretary of State for European affairs 1981-82, U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia 1977-81, executive assistant to Henry Kissinger 1973-75.

Robert Kagan
Senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Writes a monthly column on world affairs for the Washington Post. Contributing editor at both the Weekly Standard and the New Republic. Served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

Henry Kissinger
Secretary of State from 1973-77. Director of the Harvard International seminar 1951-71, director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program 1958-71. Served as a consultant to the Department of State 1965-68, United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency 1961-68, Rand Corp. 1961-68, National Security Council 1961-62, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the joint Chiefs of Staff 1959-60, Operations Coordinating Board 1955, director of the Psychological Strategy Board 1952, Operations Research Office 1951, and chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America 1983-84. Served in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps 1943-46, captain in the Military Intelligence Reserve 1946-49.

William Kristol
Editor of the The Weekly Standard. Led the Project for the Republican Future. Former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and to Secretary of Education William Bennett under President Reagan. Taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Co-author of The War Over Iraq: America’s Mission and Saddam’s Tyranny.

George P. Schulz
Former secretary of State 1982-98, chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Board 1981-82, secretary of Treasury 1972-74, secretary of Labor from 1969-70, appointed to director of the Office of Management and Budget. Awarded the Medal of Freedom on Jan. 19, 1989. Received the 1992 Seoul Peace Prize, the 2001 Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service, and the 2002 Reagan Distinguished American Award. Named a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association in 2005.

Brent Scowcroft
Serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on Arms Control, the Commission on Strategic Forces and the President’s Special Review Board, known as the Tower Commission. Served as the National Security advisor to both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. Vice chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc. Graduated from West Point and left with the rank of lieutenant general following service as the deputy national security advisor. Air Force service included professor of Russian History at West Point; assistant air attaché in Belgrade, Yugoslavia; head of the Political Science Department at the Air Force Academy; Air Force Long Range Plans; Office of the Secretary of Defense International Security Assistance; special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and military assistant to President Nixon.

Robert Zoellick
Former United States trade representative. Former secretary of State, undersecretary of State for economic and agricultural affairs, as well as counselor to the Department. Served at the Department of the Treasury in various positions, including counselor to Secretary James A. Baker, III. Executive secretary of the Department, and deputy assistant secretary for Financial Institutions Policy from 1985-88. Served as the senior U.S. official in the “Two-plus-Four” negotiations for German unification and worked closely with Secretary Baker on the policies pertaining to the end of the Cold War. Lead State Department official in the negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Uruguay Round, and the launch of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group. Appointed as the President’s personal representative, or Sherpa, for the G-7 Economic Summits in 1991 and 1992. Appointed White House deputy chief of staff and assistant to the President in 1992.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler (R.-Tex.)
National Finance Co-Chair

Served in the House of Representatives from 1978-86 with McCain. Worked as principal coordinator for Central America in the Reagan Administration. Founder of the Loeffler Group, a lobbying firm. Served as Texas co-chairman, Bush for President in 1988; national advisor to the 1992 Bush-Quayle Campaign; Texas finance co-chairman, George W. Bush for Governor (1994); national finance chairman, Phil Gramm for President (1996); national deputy finance chairman, Dole for President (1996); national co-chairman, Republican National Committee’s Team 100 from 1997-98 and 2003-05; national finance co-chairman, George W. Bush for President, 1999-00; and South Texas co-chairman, Bush-Cheney ‘04, Inc. (2004).

Phil Handy
Chairman of the Education Policy Committee

Former chair the Florida State Department of Education.

Teresa Beckham Gramm
Senior Economic Adviser: Rhodes College Economics Professor

Phil Gramm
General Co-Chair of the Campaign

Former Texas representative and senator. Originally elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party in 1983. Professor of economics, Texas A&M University 1967-78. Co-authored President Reagan’s 1981 economic program. Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 102nd and 103rd Congresses. Ran for President in 1996.

Sen. Jon Kyl
Co-Chair for the Arizona Campaign

Ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security. Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the third-ranking member of the Senate Republican Leadership.

Rep. John Shadegg
Co-Chair for the Arizona Campaign

Currently serves the 3rd District of Arizona. Chaired the Republican Study Committee from 2000-02. Served in the Arizona National Guard from 1969-75. Special counsel to the Arizona State House Republican caucus from 1991-92. Special assistant attorney general in the State of Arizona 1983-1990.

John Weaver
Chief Political Strategist

Was the chief political strategist for McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign. National field director for the1996 presidential campaign of former Sen. Phil Gramm (R.-Tex.). Former head of the Texas Republican Party.

Steve Schmidt
Senior Adviser

Served as campaign manager for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election bid. Handled communications for the Bush Administration during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and John G. Roberts, Jr.

Terry Nelson
Senior Adviser

National political director for President Bush’s re-election race in 2004. Managed Rep. Jim Nussle’s (R.-Iowa) 1994 race. Served as majority staff director of the Iowa State Senate caucus. Political director of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2000 and deputy chief of staff at the Republican National Committee in 2002. Partner in Dawson McCarthy Nelson and Crosslinks Strategy Group.

Brian Jones
Communications Director

Former Republican National Committee communications director.

Brett O’Donnell
Communications Adviser

Former debate coach at Liberty University.

Mark McKinnon
Strategy Consultant

Former media adviser to President George W. Bush. Vice chairman of Public Strategies, president of Maverick Media, which was created to handle advertisements for Bush-Cheney 2004, served on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, co-founder of

Nicco Mele

Handled Howard Dean’s Dean for American online campaign. Manages EchoDitto.