POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/3

McCain Switches Campaign Managers (Again)

“Steve Schmidt is taking over the day-to-day operation of John McCain’s campaign,” according to Jonathan Martin. At a staff meeting this morning, campaign manager Rick Davis made the announcement about Schmidt’s new role.

However, “accounts diverge on the exact nature of the new chain of command. One top McCain source said that Schmidt ‘assumed full operational control of the campaign today’ and described Davis as ‘a general manager.’ But Charlie Black, another top adviser, said Davis was still in charge.”

RNC Readies Ad Blitz

The Republican National Committee “has reserved advertising slots in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, large buys that could mark the first serious wave of televised attacks on Barack Obama,” according to Ben Smith.

“Obama is on the air in 18 states, and has been using his financial advantage to tell his preferred version of his biography, one that roots him in Kansas values and centrist political issues.”

Quote of the Day

“I have not. I have not. Actually, I have not.”

— Sen. John McCain, in an interview on ABC News, when asked why he “admitted that you’re not exactly an expert when it comes to the economy.”

However, NBC News compiles past McCain quotes in which he said “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should” or “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.”

Hispanic Voters Back Obama

Hispanic voters may have preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton over Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries, but a new Gallup poll shows them lining up solidly behind Obama over Sen. John McCain in the general election, 59% to 29%.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico Independent reports that in New Mexico and other “battleground” states with large Hispanic populations — Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and possibly Arizona — pollsters found Obama leading McCain in those states 57% to 26%.

Clinton Advisers Join Team Obama

The New York Observer: “In the weeks since Mrs. Clinton officially suspended her candidacy, the Obama campaign has recruited the services of the Clinton campaign’s director of national security, Lee Feinstein, as well as foreign-policy advisers Mara Rudman, the deputy national security advisor under Bill Clinton; Robert Einhorn, a former assistant secretary for nonproliferation at the State Department; and Stuart Eizenstat, an international-trade specialist who was policy director for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign. On the domestic side, Gene Sperling, who was the top economic adviser on the Clinton campaign, has begun consulting with the Obama policy team.”

Quinnipiac: Connecticut Solidly for Obama

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by 21 points, 56% to 35%.

NY-13 Likely to Flip to Democrats

Democrats “now appear to hold a solid edge in the battle for the seat New York Republican Rep. Vito J. Fossella left open — after the married father of threeadmitted in May that he has a daughter from an ongoing extramarital relationship,” according to CQ Politics.

“The Republicans’ lack of a consensus replacement candidate less than two weeks before the July 10 candidate filing deadline, with no top-tier prospects at hand for the party’s Sept. 9 primary, has prompted CQ to change its rating on the race in NY-13to Democrat Favored from No Clear Favorite.”

The NY-13 House seat is New York City’s only remaining Republican held seat.

For more, see CQ‘s Races to Watch.

McCain Strategy Worries Insiders

Top Republican officials, “frustrated by what they view as inconsistent messaging, sluggish fundraising and an organization that is too slow to take shape, are growing increasingly uneasy about the direction of the McCain presidential campaign,” according to Politico.

“While the practice of second-guessing presidential campaign decisions is a quadrennial routine, interviews with 16 Republican strategists and state party chairmen — few of whom would agree to talk on the record — reveal a striking level of discord and mounting criticism about the McCain operation.”

Battle of the Wives

A new AP/Yahoo News poll shows that Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain are about equally liked among Americans, but that Mrs. Obama is twice as disliked as Mrs. McCain.

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