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Obama Campaign building Oppo Research on critics
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, April 20, 2008

Under increased scrutiny for his previous connections to Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers and others, the Barack Obama campaign has decided to fight back. But how they're fighting back is quite instructive.
The Obama campaign is planning to expand its research and rapid-response team in order to repel attacks it anticipates over his ties to 1960s radical Bill Ayers, indicted developer Antoin Rezko and other figures from his past.
You don't expand your research and rapid response staff in order to find out what your own candidate knows and has done. You expand your research and rapid response staff so you can do oppo research on your opponents and critics.

The Obama campaign is preparing to do what Sen. Rockefeller advised [pdf] the Clinton Administration (and Hillary Clinton, in particular) do in the 1990's - that is, “use classic opposition research” to attack critics and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives” in order to "deflect criticism."

It's a new kind of campaign...with the old kind of tactics. Maybe Newsweek should have explained that a bit more.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

If Barack Obama(BO) asserts that he can’t be Swit Boated, his campaign is doomed. About the only consistent aspect of BO is that he is consistently wrong.
Written By: DavidL
Wow...those politics of change sure do seem like the same old, same old.

Only the weak minded can still believe that he represents any sort of meaningful change.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So, never mind if the criticisms are legit, just smear the messenger. I imagine a commercial with obama dressed like a little kid in the schoolyard, whining, "I know you are, so what am I?"
Written By: M. Murcek
URL: http://
Laura Bush said it best during a taped TV interview to a lady reporter.

"Everybody knows the way you win an election is to make your opponent look bad."

Yes, Laura, everybody interested in their candidate winning knows that.

Everyone interested in the opponent candidate winning says "People don’t like negative advertising. They say so in polls."

Unfortunately, when the other poll (the actual election) is taken, negative advertising is proven to work.

So I would expect Republicans to be shocked, Shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to see Democrats finally using Lausra’s winning formula. No Fair to Republicans.

Written By: Juan Man
URL: http://
Are you suggesting elections ought to be won by making your opponent look good?

Actually, that must be the current Democratic plan. When this Charlie Foxtrot started I thought McCain was an idiot.
Hillary and Obama have followed your advice and are doing their best to make him look like the only sane choice available.

Guess we’ll see how that works out in November.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
to see Democrats finally using Lausra’s winning formula. No Fair to Republicans.
You DO realize that the kings of negative campaigning have been and remain the Clinton’s, right? You ARE aware of this, yes? Or do you just like throwing stones in glass houses?
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
You DO realize that the kings of negative campaigning have been and remain the Clinton’s, right? You ARE aware of this, yes? Or do you just like throwing stones in glass houses?
Yes, if you are speaking ONLY about this particular primary.

Of course the Clintons could do push polls like G.W. Bush did in South Carolina in 2000 asking "Were you aware that Barack Obama fathered two Black Children?"

Even the Trash Clintons have not sunk that low yet. But there is still time.

Republicans are so much at odds about what is best for most Americans, they have to lie, cheat and steal to win many elections.

This is a serious question:

What would have happened if Democrats illegally removed tens of thousands of Republican voters from the Florida rolls in 2000, orchestrated by the Democrat’s brother, and Al Gore won by 700+ votes?

Would you have told the Republicans to just get over it?

Until a thinking Republican can come to grips with the media firestorm which would have followed that (proposed Democratic) theft, there can be little productive dialogue between the left and the right, because we are talking past each other. That is how control is maintained ... keep the serfs fighting themselves, and the robber barons are watching with greedy glee from their regal digs.

Written By: Juan Man
URL: http://
What would have happened if Democrats illegally removed tens of thousands of Republican voters from the Florida rolls in 2000, orchestrated by the Democrat’s brother, and Al Gore won by 700+ votes?
Oneman - are there lot’s of mosquitos in your fever swamp?
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Jaun Man:
Of course the Clintons could do push polls like G.W. Bush did in South Carolina in 2000 asking "Were you aware that Barack Obama fathered two Black Children?"

The allegation against Bush in the McCain affair stems almost entirely from the 2000 South Carolina primary. McCain had beaten Bush badly in New Hampshire, and Bush might have been knocked out of the race if he had lost again in South Carolina. Therefore, according to the Democratic scenario, Bush viciously attacked McCain, smearing him with a so-called "push poll" in which the Bush campaign or its supporters called thousands of voters, ostensibly for the purpose of taking a poll, but actually to spread negative personal information about McCain. Only by resorting to underhanded tactics, the story goes, was Bush able to win South Carolina and, later, the GOP nomination.

Even though the campaign was hard fought from the beginning, the controversy really began on Feb. 10, 2000, nine days before the primary. McCain held a town-hall meeting in Spartanburg, and a woman named Donna Duren said her 14-year-old son, who idolized McCain, had answered the phone the night before and had become distressed. "He was so upset," Duren told McCain. "He said, ’Mom, someone told me that Senator McCain is a cheat and a liar and a fraud.’" "What you’ve just told me has had a very profound effect on me," McCain told Duren. He subsequently sent an impassioned message to Bush: "I’m calling on my good friend George Bush to stop this now. He comes from a better family. He knows better than this." Duren’s story became a staple of McCain’s campaign. He told it at a debate, in stump speeches, and on TV. But despite all the attention McCain lavished on the tale, there was no evidence, beyond Duren’s testimony, that it was true.

The Bush campaign had hired an out-of-state company to make about 200,000 "advocacy" calls to voters. After McCain’s criticism, the campaign released the script of those calls. The script said Bush was "working hard and stressing his message of reform with results." It went on to say, "Unfortunately, the race has turned ugly," and urged listeners, "Don’t be misled by McCain’s negative tactics." It ended with more positive words about Bush. There was no mention of cheats or liars or frauds.

Nearly a week after McCain’s initial accusations, the Los Angeles Times looked into the matter. The paper found voters who had received the "advocacy" calls, but none who had received a call like the one described by Duren. "The McCain campaign has provided the names of only six voters complaining about calls from the Bush side," the paper said. Of the voters the Times’s reporters could reach, "three described questions that, while negative, appear to have been part of a legitimate poll. Another said she heard no negative information at all." The paper found no one who supported Duren’s accusation.

The lack of evidence, while not proof that the call story was untrue, is nevertheless telling. Republican strategists point out that in controversies over mass callings, there has almost always been a tape of the calls, usually made by the answering machines of voters who received them. When Pat Robertson made a negative call on Bush’s behalf in Michigan, for example, the story ended up on the front page of the New York Times, because someone had a tape of it. Likewise, when the McCain campaign made its infamous anti-Bush "Catholic voter alert" calls in Michigan, there was taped evidence. But there was no such evidence of the "cheat/liar/fraud" calls.

"If those calls took place, then where is the tape?" asks one GOP strategist. "You can’t make more than five phone calls and not have it end up on somebody’s answering machine. They’ve never been able to produce the individual who made the calls, they’ve never been able to produce the phone vendor who made the calls, and they’ve never been able to produce a script or a tape recording."

The same was true of rumors of other "push poll" calls that allegedly claimed that McCain had fathered an illegitimate mixed-race child. Although later commentary has simply accepted the existence of such calls as fact—in January of this year, National Public Radio’s Linda Wertheimer reported that "mysterious callers posing as pollsters asked voters how they felt about John McCain’s black child"—there is no hard evidence that the calls occurred.

That is not to say there was no low-road campaigning. A Bob Jones University professor named Richard Hand, who had no connection to the Bush forces, sent out an e-mail containing a variety of charges against McCain, including the one that he had fathered illegitimate children. But in that case, there was evidence of the smear: the e-mail. Hand’s name quickly became public, and his message was discredited
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
This is a lovely bedtime story, but it doesn’t pass the reasonable doubt smell test.

It’s written by a partisan, for a partisan magazine, but is it a partisan exposition? Let’s just pretend for the moment we don’t know if it is partisan, or just the skillful weaving of patches of plausible doubt, such as one might expect from a highly skilled lawyer employed by a wealthy defendant.

First of all, Karl Rove has a legendary track record of dirty campaign tricks. It is the way he operates and always has. But for some unknown reason, in this CRITICAL campaign, he decided to wear a white hat, or to be Caesar’s wife, if you wish to think of Karl Rove as Karl Love. How likely is that?

Bush senior, propelled by the Dirty Tricks of Lee Atwater, would not have had any input to his son’s most important campaign until that point either. He had also decided to hold back from dirty tricks, again for some unexplained reason. How likely is that?

There is much ado in the summation for the jury which hinges on the lack of "tapes" from answering machines. There is conveniently for the defense zero consideration made to the possibility that there were instructions, given the very nasty nature of the "poll" to only run it, or if given live, to only deliver it to a humanly picked up phone. Machines can sense a recording answering or a human voice saying hello. So the lack of evidence is similar to saying that no-one can prove the SEC found G.W. Bush guilty of Insider Trading because there is no proof. Well, in fact, there is documentation, but the SEC is under strict orders to not release the SEC determinations if G.W. Bush committed security fraud in his position as a member of the Audit Board of Harken Energy. So the lack of presentable evidence does not prove innocence, just the lack of obtainable evidence.

If Bush and McCain both had to testify in court, would a jury of peers be more likely to believe a AWOL Texas Guardman, whose records of being AWOL mysteriously disappeared after Karen Hughes visited the records depot for then Texas Governor Bush (Ha, can’t prove that one either, Author York would surely posit), or would they be more likely to believe a war hero who received about 28 medals for flying about 22 hours before being shot down into a lake?
I know who I would believe. Additionally, if the article was true, that would mean the Truth-telling, Straight-Talking war hero was lying to the American People. Could you handle that? A Lying Republican.

Of course Author York may be also able to prove that the is no proof for any Republican ever lying.
Written By: Juan Man
URL: http://
The lack of physical evidence is proof of the conspiracy argument.
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
My point is that the strongest, most repeated argument being made is that there are NO tapes as evidence. However, the lack of "tapes" of the event is NOT proof that the calls did not happen, or that the allegations are baseless. In other words, it is false to say that no tapes PROVES the dirty trick did not happen. It does no such thing.

Also, is it not curious that a specific type of election slander, namely racially referenced slander, would happen in a state with strong historical divisions based on slavery and race? These calls, if made, were not claimed to have been made in New Hampshire, but in a state where they could stir old fears and stereotypes. Bush’s campaign could have made the push poll the question "Are you aware that there are fellow Vietnam Invasion POW’s who claim that John McCain collaberated with his captors, and that is one of the real reasons McCain says he doesn’t like to talk about his POW days?" But there are no reports of such calls at all, anywhere. (Of course, Karl Rove would wisely not play the Service to Nation card against a media darling Republican, although there was no such aversion to attacking the heroism of a Democrat - John Kerry, because Rove would get not only the full support of the corporate media, but also get the aid of advisors within the Democratic Party NOT to respond to the Swift Boat attack for nearly a month.)(Not to mention additional adivise to Kerry, in the heat of the campaign, to take a day off to be photographed Wind-Surfing at Cape Code. With Democratic advisors like that it’s no wonder Karl Rove is called an evil genius. But I digress.)

If the claims of such calls being made arrived into NPR, they have a relatively good chance of being fact based.

Written By: Juan Man
URL: http://

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