For 25 years, Mark McKinnon has been helping solve complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates, including President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Governor Ann Richards, Congressman "Good Time" Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono. "McKinnon is a weekly columnist for The Daily Beast." 
In 2006, McKinnon started working on John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. In January 2007 he said he would quit if the general election pitted McCain against Barack Obama. "I will, however, still support and vote for John McCain," he told the Austin American-Statesman. "I just don’t want to work against an Obama candidacy. I think a McCain vs. Obama race would be a great choice for the country."   On May 21, 2008, McKinnon did resign from the McCain campaign, as promised, not wanting to campaign against Obama. 
In October 2005, President Bush nominated McKinnon to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees U.S.-funded international media outlets including Radio Sawa, Al Hurra and Voice of America.
In April 2004, McKinnon, set up the consulting firm Maverick Media, Inc, "to handle advertisements" for Bush-Cheney '04 Inc.. "Campaign officials said the money covered television time in March  and beyond, as well as production costs. The firm [received] about $46 million throughout" Bush's 2004 presidential campaign. 
Bill McConnell wrote June 27, 2005, in Broadcasting & Cable that "McKinnon launched his career as a Democratic campaign consultant, then dropped out of politics to work for corporate clients. But the Austin, Texas, image consultant was lured back into politics by his close friend George W. Bush, this time as a Republican strategist. McKinnon "mounted a brutally effective ad campaign against John Kerry in 2004, which included the 'Windsurfing' spot portraying the Democratic candidate as a rich dilettante," McConnell wrote.
Half of the top 50 Bush 2004 reelection campaign expenditures went to McKinnon's firm Maverick Media, totaling $170 million. (While the majority of the money went towards campaign ads, the standard commission for media consulting firms is 15 percent, according to Campaigns & Elections.)
"I think the most important thing to recognize is that in all the campaigns with President Bush, it always begins with the president saying: 'Here are the things I care about. These are the things I want to talk about. Now, you guys can go and execute the plan however you want to, but this is what I'm talking about; this is what I believe in,'" McKinnon told Frontline for their 2005 piece on Karl Rove called "The Architect." 
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- Glen Justice, "Bush Spent A Record On His Race In March," (abstract) New York Times, April 21, 2004.
- "Interview: Mark McKinnon", Frontline, April 12, 2005.
- Bill McConnell, "Washington’s Hidden Persuaders. A handful of players are behind every big decision, consensus or roadblock in Washington. With telecom, media and entertainment taking priority in the nation’s capital, here’s a look at who pulls the strings," Broadcasting & Cable, June 27, 2005.
- "Nominations Sent to the Senate ", Media Release, White House, October 17, 2005.
- Howard Kurtz, "Online Venture Seeks To Elevate the Debate. Civility Is In, Rancor Out on Web Site Begun by Democratic, GOP Strategists," Washington Post, July 12, 2006.