Ambers' take:

In the year and a half since McCain and Schmidt first got to know each other, the two have grown close, almost like father and son; each very deferential to the other. Schmidt has taught McCain how to be John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate -- a different creature from just plain ol' John McCain. Schmidt is a partisan pugilist. He speaks in pre-fabricated, consumable, sharp morsels. McCain has learned from Schmidt that it's OK not to be a referre,, that it's OK not to play the judge, that it's OK to draw contrasts with your opponents. And McCain, for a variety of reasons, has come to trust Schmidt's judgment...

There was an acknowledgment, I am told, that the campaign had not sufficiently scaled up to fight against what is the best-run, best organized Democratic campaign in the history of the universe.

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