This post was written by CBS News producer Jennifer Yuille. Jen put together Katie's piece earlier this week that took a behind-the-scenes look at the John McCain campaign. You can check it out here – or watch the video below.
Katie Couric: During the 2004 campaign, Newsweek described you this way: "Schmidt liked to refer to himself as Patton. His staff called him the general or the colonel. He was known to stock through the hall of the headquarters, declaring kill kill kill. It was not clear how much he was kidding." Yikes.
Steve Schmidt: Totally untrue. I read it. I talked to the Newsweek reporter who wrote it at the time and I said to him, "it's absolutely fiction. It never happened." They said, but you make a great character. I said, "but the book is supposed to be non-fiction." And he said, but you're a great character in the book. I said, "I don't like that character. That's not me." And I think if you talked to the people around here, that's not how you operate in a campaign and it's certainly not how you lead a lot of young people in a campaign. And I would also say this, as someone who has had family members serve in Iraq, that a lot of people make martial comparisons to campaigns and it's a totally inappropriate comparison. Politics is a competitive enterprise. It's much more akin to a football game than to war. And I think that people who make comparisons like that really are misinformed about what it's like to be in a war zone, don't have much of an understanding about the sacrifices that our soldiers go through. And I would never do that. And obviously I wasn't happy about it. When you work in politics, one of the things you find out is sometimes you read stuff about yourself that's not true and you learn to go home and to shake it off.
Couric: I know that you weren't going to be involved a presidential campaign this year. You had sworn off presidential campaigns so what brought you back?
Schmidt: I have huge admiration for Sen. McCain. I wasn't planning on doing it. I don't ever see myself doing it again and I don't ever see myself doing it for anybody else. But I think we're at a moment in our history where this country could use a President McCain. I believe, and in him very deeply and I think as the American people begin to know his full story, they're going to believe in him very deeply and I'm happy to play small part in telling his story.