At a Glance
- Career History:
Campaign strategist, Sen.
(R-Ariz.), (2008); Campaign strategist, California Gov.
(R), (2006); Adviser, Vice President
, (2005-2006) Communications specialist, President
George W. Bush
- Birthday: 1970
- Hometown: North Plainfield, N.J.
- Alma Mater: Attended University of Delaware, left in 1993 several credits shy of bachelor's degree.
- Spouse: Angela
Path to Power
Steve Schmidt, the son of a school teacher and a businessman, grew up in North Plainfield, N.J., where he was an Eagle Scout, tight end on his high school football team and a political junkie from a young age. He was 8 in 1978 when he first handed out brochures for former basketball great Bill Bradley, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate.
Though he appear as a partisan warrior, Schmidt insists he's not ideological and describes himself as a "raging moderate." His specialty is political strategy and he does not aspire to a policy job in the White House or anywhere else in the government.
A year after Obama defeated McCain, Schmidt has become one of the most public critics of the religious conservatives who dominate the GOP, saying the GOP is becoming a "religious party" that will alienate many young, suburban and Hispanic voters at a time when it needs those additional votes.
Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser, was instrumental in bringing Schmidt into Bush's 2004 campaign. But Schmidt resents being called a Rove protege, apparently because he rejects the win-at-all-costs attitude Rove projects.
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(photo: Gerald Herbert/TWP)