McCain Campaign Manager Pushes Back On Kristol's Criticisms

Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager, hit back against Bill Kristol for urging McCain to fire his campaign staff in his latest New York Times column.

"It's a good thing Bill Kristol has never run a political campaign because he'd probably have to fire himself at least two or three times," Davis said on Fox News on Thursday.

The Davis-Kristol dust-up comes as McCain's campaign strategy has received greater scrutiny from Kristol and others. Kristol, a staunch McCain backer, had encouraged McCain's campaign a few weeks ago to set loose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and to bring up Obama's ties to his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the campaign was grappling with how far to go with negative attacks against Obama. And McCain's younger brother, Joe McCain, sent an e-mail this week calling on the campaign to focus less on attacks and more on the positive aspects of McCain's biography.

Below is the video of Davis on Fox News, courtesy of Think Progress. It's followed by the transcript of Davis's answer on Fox.




CARLSON: Rick, let me ask you this, because there have been some, quite frankly, conservative columnists -- who are usually on your side of the fence. One of them in particular, earlier this week, Bill Kristol, who said that you and everyone else on the campaign staff should be fired. How do you respond to that?

DAVIS: Yes, well, you know, it's a good thing Bill Kristol has never run a political campaign...

(LAUGHTER)

... because he'd probably have to fire himself at least two or three times.

Look, we're doing a great job, I think, getting John McCain out in front of the people. But, you know what, our campaign is about presenting John McCain to the American public. We -- he can handle it himself. And you're right; I mean, he probably doesn't even need a campaign to do what he does so well.

I mean, that's the difference between the sort of, you know, blue smoke and mirrors that get created at the Obama campaign and just the raw, unadulterated exposure to the American public that John McCain has. He goes on the stump. He talks about the truth. He goes into town halls. He answers questions. And he tells the American public, clear difference between us.

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