By LIZ SIDOTI – 4 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain put a top adviser in control of day-to-day campaign operations Wednesday after weeks of private concerns among Republicans that the GOP presidential campaign had not made the transition for the general election.

Steve Schmidt, a veteran of President Bush's re-election and a member of the Arizona senator's inner circle, will oversee daily political, strategy, coalitions, scheduling and communications efforts from the campaign's northern Virginia headquarters.

The campaign's estimated 300-person staff will report to Schmidt, who will report to campaign manager Rick Davis.

Davis will continue to focus on long-term planning, the vice presidential search, fundraising and the national convention but Schmidt's added responsibilities mean the campaign manager's load now will be somewhat lighter. Davis took the reins of the campaign almost exactly a year ago amid a major staff shake-up and has been the subject of Democratic criticism for his past lobbying work.

He told the staff of Schmidt's expanded role at a Wednesday meeting at headquarters, saying that Schmidt would have "full operational control" of the campaign's daily activities.

"This is a natural growth of the campaign and we think it's a good thing," said spokesman Brian Rogers.

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