WASHINGTON – With an eye toward the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona has hired one of President Bush’s top re-election advisers to help run his political action committee.
Terry Nelson, political director of the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, will be senior adviser to Straight Talk America, according to several officials familiar with the hiring.
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 race by McCain. Nelson’s hiring puts him in position to play a major role should McCain seek the White House again.
The Arizona senator ran in 2000, upsetting Bush in New Hampshire but losing the nomination in a bitter two-way race. The Bush and McCain camps eventually came to terms and McCain campaigned vigorously on Bush’s behalf in the 2004 re-election campaign.