Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator's campaign last week for what one aide called "trashing" the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.
One of the aides tells CNN that campaign manager Rick Davis fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading "disinformation" about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials.
"He was positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain's campaign message," said one of the aides.
Senior campaign officials blame Schuenemann specifically for stories about the way Wallace and chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt mishandled Palin's rollout stories that the campaign says threw them off message in the critical final weeks of the campaign.
Another aide said McCain personally was "very disappointed by Randy," who worked for McCain for many years in the Senate.
It would have been nice if someone had noticed at the time, and astonishing that the McCain campaign didn't reveal this until now.
Update: This folllow-up report by CNN is even more curious:
In another sign of drama and disarray inside camp McCain, former campaign senior adviser Randy Scheunemann responded late Wednesday to CNN and insisted he was "not fired and never [have] been fired."
In addition, Michael Goldfarb, a McCain press aide and Scheunemann ally, also insisted he was not fired.
However, Goldfarb did concede that Scheunemann's campaign e-mail was cut off, and his blackberry was taken away late Friday. Goldfarb admits that senior McCain aides were mad at Scheunemann, and wanted to fire him, but he insists they stopped short of that, and instead simply turned off his campaign communication.
Goldfarb says Scheunemann was in the office on Saturday. He was, however, noticeably missing on election night when top aides to John McCain and Sarah Palin gathered in Phoenix, Arizona.
So, his campaign email was shut off and his Blackberry was taken away. Does that sound like he was fired in all but name?