McCain’s new campaign manager has swung into action, hiring the former campaign manager for Rudy Giuliani. Meanwhile, Obama is back on the fundraising trail.

 McCain’s new campaign boss swings into action – The Washington Post looked at Steve Schmidt’s background and brief for the McCain campaign. Schmidt, a former aide to Dick Cheney, will have broad authority to revamp the campaign and its message in the coming weeks. He plans to renew the focus on government reform. 

The Huffington Post reports that one of his first acts was to hire Rudy Giuliani’s former campaign manager, Mike DuHaime. as political director.

Obama starts fundraising again – Obama’s fundraising campaign is switching gear from small internet donors back to focusing on major fundraising events focusing on high-dollar donors, reports the NYT. He needs “more than $200 million” for the election.

Does McCain have a “YouTube problem”?  Daily Kos says he does – and points to a video in which he says “I believe there have been times where I have probably been influenced because the big donor had – buys access to my office, and we know that access is influence. And honestly, that taints us all. It taints me.”

The Crooks and Liars blog also got in on the action, with a story entitled “McCain hates bloggers”. It linked to a YouTube video which seems to have been yanked from YouTube. Crooks quotes McCain as saying: “Now we’ve got the cables. We’ve got talk radio. We’ve got the bloggers. I hate the bloggers. We’ve got all kinds of sources of information.” Might make it hard for your online campaign to snuggle up with them now, John.

White House to work on smooth security handover – The Wall Street Journal says the Bush administration is working with the Obama and McCain campaigns on an unprecedented handover plan aimed at preventing disruption to defense and counterterrorism efforts: “The Obama and McCain campaigns are working to compile lists of potential nominees for dozens of national-security and counterterrorism positions so would-be policy makers can be vetted and confirmed as quickly as possible.”

McCain’s ‘town hall meeting’ strategy – Up against a candidate who is very strong at giving rousing public speeches, John McCain is sticking to his “straight talk” strategy of addressing smaller, informal town hall meetings. “Supporters say the freewheeling sessions showcase the Arizona senator as a straight-talking candidate who is an expert on policy issues. Others are not so sure.”

Why the terrorist fear factor won’t deliver this election – “Because Americans are less afraid and because Republicans have abandoned the foreign policy center, Democrats need not worry that Obama will suffer the fate of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale or John Kerry. He won’t lose because he looks weak. The greater danger is that he will change positions in a bid to look strong — as he recently did on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — and come across as inauthentic and insincere. — Washington Post

McCain needs to “move to the right” – We’re tempted to just ignore what Fox News in the US says, but Huffington Post quotes an interview with an Editor from a conservative magazine saying that McCain needs to use gays in the military and gay marriage as wedge issues to “energize the Right” and win the election.

Obama’s stance on abortion – The Huffington Post asks if Obama supports new restrictions on late-term abortions that would effectively weaken Roe v Wade, following a statement he made over the weekend that “he doesn’t believe a pregnant woman’s ‘mental distress’ should be considered a sufficient exception to bans against late-term abortions.

Can they take Texas? And finally, The Nation has a nice read on the Obama campaign in Texas. Can the Dems win back the ‘red star’ state?