Steve Schmidt’s Straight Talk On John McCain

Now that the election is over Steve Schmidt can admit to what he was really thinking during the 2008 campaign. Schmidt and David Plouffe spoke at the University of Delaware. Neither could admit it, but both knew that the election was over well before election day.

“When Lehman Brothers collapsed in the fall, I knew pretty much straight away the campaign was finished,” Schmidt confessed to an auditorium full of college students. When the number of people who thought the country was on the right track “dropped to 5 percent and the economy collapsed, I knew that was not going to be survivable for us.”

If McCain ever had a chance, it could have been destroyed the first night of the convention. The one lucky break McCain got was an excuse to cancel the first night.

On the Bush-Cheney drag: “The first night of our convention was President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I literally thought by the second night of our convention we could be down 25 points.”

I continue to get comments and email from Palin supporters who deny the fact that Palin’s interviews were a disaster. Schmidt realized how bad they were:

“That is one of the two most consequential interviews that a candidate for national office has given, in a negative way, the other being Roger Mudd’s interview of Ted Kennedy . . . when he couldn’t answer the question of why he wanted to be president.”

Not only did McCain lose, but the entire Republican Party is in serious trouble:

“It is near-extinct in many ways in the Northeast, it is extinct in many ways on the West Coast, and it is endangered in the Mountain West, increasingly endangered in the Southwest . . . and if you look at the state of the party, it is a shrinking entity.”

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