In a statement, the Arizona senator said Terry Nelson and John Weaver offered their resignations, "which I accepted with regret and deep gratitude for their dedication, hard work and friendship."Whether Nelson was fired or not is beside the point, McCain has descended to second tier status in every indicator except name recognition and that is not going to be enough to win. He has no money, he has no staff (he fired 50 last week after seeing really dismal fundrasigin numbers) and he has no message that is resonating with the party faithful.
Nelson, a veteran of President Bush's successful 2004 re-election effort, said he stepped down as campaign manager and Weaver, a longtime aide who was a key player McCain's failed 2000 presidential bid, said he left his post of chief strategist. Both resignations were effective immediately.
Following the two out the door were political director Rob Jesmer and deputy campaign manager Reed Galen, officials said.
At the Capitol, McCain said he would "of course" remain in the presidential race, and disputed the idea that the staff changes marked a major shake-up that reflects his campaign's recent troubles.
"People are free to make their own assessments. I think we're doing fine," McCain said. "I'm very happy with the campaign the way it is."
Other officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid discussing private conversations, said Nelson was fired. But several people close to Nelson disputed that characterization.
Two officials said Rick Davis, a longtime McCain aide who ran the 2000 race, will take over the campaign and that other changes also were likely.
Senator McCain will not be president and he needs to come to that realization sooner rather than later to avoid embarassing himself.