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Strategists bemoan opposition research failures in 2016 campaign

by AirTalk®

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney concedes defeat to US President Barack Obama November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

This highly competitive race to choose a presidential nominee in the Republican and Democratic parties should be spurring furious and exhaustive opposition research - skeletons in closets, flip-flops, and damning video and audio recordings.

However, opposition research is not as simple as finding a yellowed newspaper clipping. Strategists have to research how the evidence will play in the minds of voters and seed it at just the right time.

A prime example came in 2012 when a pro-President Obama group created an emotional ad targeting Mitt Romney’s claims of being good for business. It featured a blue-collar worker laid off after his company was acquired by Bain Capital, co-founded by Romney. How effective or ineffective have the campaigns been at conducting and using opposition research?


Brett Di Resta, Member of Democracy Partners - a strategic consulting firm; adjunct professor of opposition research at George Washington University

Sam Stein, Senior Editor of Politics, Huffington Post

Lisa Camooso Miller, Republican strategist and partner at Blueprint Communications, public affairs firm based in D.C.  

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