Steve Schmidt

Political Commentator and Former Republican Strategist

Steve Schmidt is known widely for his senior roles advising President George W. Bush, presidential candidate Senator John McCain, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

In the 2008 U.S. 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.” In 2006, Schmidt was campaign manager for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s come-from-behind re-election win.

Previously, Schmidt was a former vice chairman of Edelman, where he was the firm’s senior counselor to C-suite-level decisionmakers of multinational corporations, professional sports franchises, high-profile non-profit organizations, and academic institutions. He served as 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 U.S. 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. Schmidt comments regularly on global issues and trends, as well as the Trump presidency and American politics, frequently appearing on national news programs including those on the MSNBC television channel. Together with Obama campaign manager David Plouffe he is a founding fellow of the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware, which he attended. Schmidt serves on the Board of JUST Capital and on the Advisory Board of the Pac Pro Football league.

Live Event Appearances

Podcast Guest Appearances

Steve Schmidt and Varshini Prakash on Disrupting Climate Politics

Can we break up the political logjam on climate? 

“The brokenness of our politics,” says Republican political strategist Stephen Schmidt, “is that we have 90% agreement on a dozen different solutions that we cannot get through the state or federal legislative processes -- because of the systemic brokenness of politics.”