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McCain cuts staff

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, reorganized his campaign yesterday, cutting staff in every department after raising just $11.2 million in the past three months and reporting an abysmal $2 million cash on hand for his 2008 presidential bid.

“We confronted reality, and we dealt with it in the best way that we could so that we could move forward,” Terry Nelson, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, told the Associated Press.

Once considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Mr. McCain trails top Republican rivals in money and polls.

A McCain campaign organization employee who asked not to be identified told Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times that the cuts were far worse than predicted.

“This wasn’t a trimming of staff, as some expected. It was a bloodbath, a total shock,” the McCain employee said, adding that “100 staff members were called in today and let go — with two weeks” notice.”

He said the campaign is extremely strapped for cash, so much so that the fired staff members aren’t sure when they will get paid.

“We were told we’d get two weeks” pay, but they told us they were not sure when we’d get the money,” the McCain campaign worker said.

The employee said that Mr. Nelson called the meeting yesterday. “Terry said, ‘I’m still working for the campaign, but I won’t draw a salary anymore,’ ” the McCain employee said.

Mr. Nelson’s words were greeted with bitterness by some fired staff members, some of whom had turned down other job offers within the past two weeks because they said they had no inkling that such a massive layoff was in the works — or that the campaign had continued to spend lavishly while raising disappointingly small sums of money.

Political workers went from 45 to seven and communications staff went from 24 to four after yesterday’s firing. Some divisions of the campaign were completely dissolved, the McCain employee said.

‘Stiffen spines’

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, yesterday called for the U.S. to confront Iran — possibly with militarily force — after U.S. military officials reported that Iran was training Iraqi Shi’ite fighters, reports S.A. Miller of The Washington Times.

“These revelations should be a wake-up call to the United States about the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as a reminder why Iraq is, in fact, the central front of the global war on terror,” said Mr. Lieberman, a hawkish former Democrat who lost his party’s 2006 primary because of opposition from antiwar groups, but then ran as an independent and kept his seat anyway.

Mr. Lieberman’s remarks were intended to tell the Democrat-led Congress that it was time to “stiffen spines,” as well send a message to Iran that the U.S. knows what it’s up to and will not stand for it, a person familiar with the senator’s thinking told Mr. Miller.

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