Renowned Political Strategist and MSNBC Political Analyst
As a counselor to world leaders, CEOs, celebrities, and political movements over the past two decades, Steve Schmidt has played an influential role in American politics and helped navigate some of the most high-stakes corporate crises and business strategy challenges of our time. Schmidt is one of the most respected strategists and incisive voices in US politics, known widely for his senior roles advising President George W. Bush, presidential candidate Senator John McCain, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. National media outlets have dubbed Schmidt a “damage control master,” credited him for dramatic turnarounds of left-for-dead political campaigns, and said his commentary on the American political climate lands him “square in the middle of our national soul.” And, as Vice Chairman of Edelman, Schmidt is the firm’s senior counselor to C-suite-level decisionmakers of multinational corporations, professional sports franchises, high-profile non-profit organizations, and academic institutions.
In the 2008 US presidential campaign cycle, Schmidt took over most operations of Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign when the candidate was considered no longer viable, and he was later credited for transforming McCain “from corpse to contender.” Schmidt was later portrayed by actor Woody Harrelson in the award-winning movie Game Change, which chronicled the 2008 campaign. In 2006, Schmidt was campaign manager for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s come-from-behind re-election win. Schmidt guided the campaign from a 6-point deficit to a 17-point win, and while doing so helped restore Californians’ confidence in the direction of their state, according to polling data. For this effort, the American Association of Political Consultants lauded him as “Campaign Manager of the Year.”
Schmidt was a Deputy Assistant to the President in the administration of President George W. Bush, during which time he played a leading role in the confirmations of two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Also during that time, in 2005, Schmidt was requested by the US Ambassador to Iraq to assess and improve communications in the country’s war zone. Prior, he was a top strategist in the 2004 campaign to re-elect President Bush.