Rick Davis, Intermittent Populist

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THE PLANK APRIL 14, 2008

Rick Davis, Intermittent Populist

Jonathan Martin reports on the McCain campaign's efforts to organize K Street:

While John McCain travels the country, giving policy speeches, weighing in on the news of the day and raising much-needed cash, his campaign manager is quietly selling their gameplan to the inside-the-beltway crowd.Last Friday morning, Rick Davis met with over 100 Republican Chiefs of Staff at the Capitol Hill Club and presented the campaign's de-centralized strategy and talked up their interlocking efforts with the RNC, according to sources who were present.   The previous night, Davis was giving a similar, if broader, presentation to a smaller group of the capital's top lobbyists and p.r. gurus at Johnny's Half Shell, a Capitol Hill watering hole.Davis spoke to about 30 people, according to a lobbyist who attended, and described the gathering as the manager's "first major outreach to the Washington community."Present were top officials from energy and utility concerns such as Nuclear Energy Institute, Edison Electric, the American Petroleum Institute, American Gas Association and Exelon.  Also there were senior executives from heavyweight p.r. firms Edelman and Burson Martseller.

The story does not describe the McCain game plan, but it seems to revolve around opposition to elitism:

In an email titled "A bitter America?" (love the Fox News-esque question mark) McCain manager Rick Davis uses Obama's comments to raise coin -- and also acknowledges their fundraising hole.

If Barack Obama is the Democrat nominee in the general election, the American people will have a clear choice between two different visions - Senator Obama's liberal, elitist philosophy and John McCain's faith in the small town values that continue to make America great.

Davis's courtship of the business lobby and p.r. firms took place Thursday and Friday, and the anti-elitism email went out today.

--Jonathan Chait

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