MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday that a shake-up in the leadership of his campaign was part of a "natural evolution" as the organization becomes more national in scope.
McCain's campaign announced Wednesday that top adviser Steve Schmidt would assume a broad portfolio of duties, with nearly full control over message and strategy. Schmidt will report to Rick Davis, who will keep the title of campaign manager but focus on longer term matters like the Republican National Convention and McCain's choice of a running mate.
Addressing reporters at the conclusion of a three-day visit to Colombia and Mexico, the GOP nominee-in-waiting downplayed the personnel shift.
"Our campaign continues to grow, and the responsibilities are expanding and Mr. Schmidt is taking over some increased responsibilities," McCain said. "Rick Davis remains the campaign chairman, campaign manager. It's a natural evolution as we become more and more of a national campaign with increased staff and increased responsibilities."