McCain Cuts Off Murphy, Critical 2000 Chief Strategist

Many observers have marveled at how drastically different John McCain's campaign this year is from the one he ran in 2000. Now the New York Times reports that McCain has cut off all communication with Mike Murphy, the chief strategist of the '00 campaign and a longtime friend and adviser to the candidate. The reason -- McCain sees Murphy's criticisms of his current campaign as a "betrayal."

Mr. McCain has told associates that he has viewed Mr. Murphy's criticisms of his campaign -- its advertisements, his selection of Ms. Palin and Mr. McCain's aggressive manner -- as an act of betrayal, the actions of a former friend seeking attention and a network platform. Mr. McCain was described as particularly incensed that one of Mr. Murphy's platforms was MSNBC, which Mr. McCain's campaign has repeatedly treated as an enemy.

Mr. McCain has cut off all communications with Mr. Murphy, associates said. And McCain aides, including Steve Schmidt, a chief strategist who worked with Mr. Murphy on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for governor of California, have stopped talking to him as well, ignoring telephone calls or e-mail messages, according to Republicans close to the campaign.

Mr. Murphy, in a brief e-mail comment, said that he was saying only what he believed, and that he still admired Mr. McCain.

Murphy's latest critique of his former boss is a post on Time's Swampland blog offering sarcastic potential responses to the news of Palin's $150,000 makeover:

I saw the RNC statement on Gov. Palin's $150,000 clothing bender on the RNC's tab. This caper is gonna make for a long day at the office for the good folks at the RNC/McCain press operation. Thought I'd offer a little help in a humorous vein; some other possible spin lines for the RNC.

1.) What you sneering critics in the liberal MSM fail to see here is... a Jobs Program! Saks floorwalkers, cashiers, a team of sweating porters to haul the merchandise from the store to the motorcade... chiropractors to treat those porters. Sarah Palin knows how to create jobs!

2.) What's the difference between a Pit Bull and a Hockey Mom? You can feed a pit-bull for 483 years with 150 grand.

3.) Still cheaper than Mitt Romney's hair products. We're saving money here...

4.) William Ayres is a terrorist!

5.) New ad slogan: "Clothes for Gov. Palin? $150,000. Time machine to go back two months to late August and ask what the Hell were Schmidt and Davis thinking when they cooked up this idea and sold it to McCain? Priceless."