Terry Nelson and that TRMPAC Thing

McCain loses an old buddy of Tom DeLay's.

Which will happen first - Fred Thompson gets into the presidential race, or John McCain gets out?

After his fundraising efforts have skidded to a halt, the Arizona republican has lost most of his top campaign staff: chief strategist John Weaver, campaign manager Terry Nelson (more on him in a moment), deputy manager Reed Galen and political director Rob Jesmer.

For anyone thinking the name Terry Nelson seems familiar, the professional campaign consultant/bruiser Nelson was political manager for Bush/Cheney '04, and second producer on the infamous "Call me!" attack ad on Tennessee senate hopeful Harold Ford Jr. in 2006.

But before that, back in 2002, Nelson was deputy chief of staff at the Republican National State Elections Committee (RNSEC). He ended up as an unindicted co-conspirator in Tom DeLay's shenanigans, when it turned out his office had been part of The Hammer's plan to illicitly filter $190,000 in TRMPAC cash into state election coffers.

To top off his seemingly kamikaze campaign day of staff losses, McCain then gave a Senate speech in support of the Defense Authorization Act. In a depiction of Iraq that could only have been more optimistic if he had inserted the words "greeted with roses", his support for a continued war puts him at odds with the 70% of Americans in a USA Today poll that back withdrawal by April 2008.

Of course, this leaves lots of spare presidential election talent up for hire. The Washington Post was also reporting that former Texas senator (and former McCain foe turned close adviser) Phil Gramm was to take a bigger role in the McCain posse once the campaign started in earnest. So where will the money men, the Rovians and the Texas vote deliverers head next?

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Elections, Corruption, Tom DeLay, John McCain, Terry Nelson

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