|Born||1955 (age 60–61)
Davenport, Iowa, U.S.
|Alma mater||Georgetown University|
Mark Salter is an American speechwriter from Davenport, Iowa, known for his collaborations with United States Senator John McCain on several nonfiction books as well as on political speeches. Salter has also served as McCain's chief of staff for a while, although he had left that position by 2008. Salter has often been referred to as McCain's "alter ego".
During the John McCain presidential campaign, 2008 the Wall Street Journal wrote that "When it comes to Sen. McCain's image, Mr. Salter, 53 years old, is the campaign's chief creator, shaper and enforcer. For two decades, he has been the presumed Republican nominee's speechwriter, adviser and confidant." But he almost left the campaign in mid-2007 when it suffered a collapse and there were many personnel shake ups. During the latter stages of the campaign Salter became the leader attacker of media treatment of the candidate,s which he said was consistently tilted in his rivals favor.
Some observers have credited McCain's whole public servant persona as a literary project due to Salter's efforts. In this sense it reshaped the cultural and political image of McCain and served to bring forth his POW service as he had never done before.
Of their writing process Salter said in 2008: "It's his voice, but I'm going inside his head to speak some psychological truth about him. I'm drawing a conclusion based on my observation of him. I always show him: 'This is what I've written. This is what I think about you. Is this fair?' " Observers of the two have likened their sharing to that of a Vulcan mind meld.
Howard Fineman wrote: "McCain and Salter are stylistically similar and share a world view: they like to operate in intimate settings, with a loyal band of brothers, a clear enemy in sight and an almost joyful fatalism in the face of long odds." He compared Salter's role to that of Boswell.
Following the 2008 campaign loss, which McCain took hard, Salter became less of a presence in the McCain political operation.
Salter grew up in Davenport, Iowa. There he attended Roman Catholic parochial schools. Salter had a wandering upbringing and early adulthood, not settling down, working on railroad track maintenance in Iowa for four years and playing in a music group. Salter first entered politics as a speech writer r for U.S. Ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick. Salter first began working for McCain following a chance encounter at the 1988 Republican National Convention. At some later point he attended Georgetown University.
Aside from having worked on Senator McCain's staff for 19 years (as of 2008), Salter has also written, in collaboration with McCain, the books
- Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War (2014)
- Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life (2004)
- Faith of My Fathers (1999)
- Worth the Fighting For (2002)
- Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (2005)
- Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them (2007)
Unlike the many politicians who use ghostwriters for their books, McCain has always given Salter front-cover credit, and also splits income from the books with Salter evenly. That even split is a rarity in the political world and allowed Salter and his wife - herself a formerly secretary on McCain's staff - to set up a second residence in Maine.
Salter lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife Diane; they have two daughters.
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/29/AR2008102904035_2.html?sub=AR&sid=ST2008103000210 Washington Post profile - see External links
- http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/04/13/inventing_john_mccain/ Boston Globe profile
- See External links entry
- Goldberg, Jeffrey. "Mark Salter on the Press and John McCain". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Kirkpatrick, David D. "Writing Memoir, McCain Found a Narrative for Life - NYTimes.com". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Kaiser, Robert G. (1 August 2008). "The Curious Mind of John McCain". Retrieved 30 November 2016 – via washingtonpost.com.
- "Mark Salter: McCain's Closest Aide". 18 July 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Purdum, Todd S., "The Man Who Never Was", Vanity Fair (November 2010). Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- "McCain adviser pegged as 'O' author". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/mark-salter-mccain-adviser-hillary-clinton-supports-222749 Politico