Ex-Romney manager lauches oppo research firm

The word research appears 17 times in the new RNC campaign strategy reform blueprint and consultants have taken note. Matt Rhoades and two former RNC staffers are teaming up to launch a new opposition research firm, according to reports. The details of the new shop are still hazy -- a website isn't up yet -- but its timing coincides with the upper echelons of the party issuing a clarion call for more research, particularly campaign trackers. "Well-funded conservative groups should seek to hire activists to track Democrat incumbents and candidates with video cameras constantly recording their every movement, utterance, and action," the 100-page RNC report, released earlier this week, states. "Within the applicable legal constraints, we need to create our own video content, bank it, and release it when it suits our candidates' needs. "An allied group dedicated solely to research to establish a private archive and public website that does nothing but post inappropriate Democrat utterances and act as a clearinghouse for information on Democrats would serve as an effective vehicle for affecting the public issue debate." Republican candidates have famously fallen victim to making damaging statements caught on camera by Democratic campaign trackers in recent cycles. In 2012, Democratic organizations such as American Bridge 21st Century served as the party’s eyes and ears. Rhoades and his colleagues now hope to replicate their rivals’ success. "We plan to start this enterprise because so many Republicans seem to agree that there is a need on our side of the aisle for an entity that is focused on solely holding Democrats accountable for their actions and records using research, candidate tracking, rapid response and digital tools," he told CNN in a statement. The new firm, called America Rising, plans to start tracking Democratic House, Senate and potential presidential candidates and then selling subscriptions to GOP groups. In addition to Rhoades, who headed opposition research for George W. Bush in 2004 and managed Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, the firm's marquee will include former RNC staffers Tim Miller and Joe Pounder. The group is being advised by Ben Ginsberg, a Patton Boggs lobbyist who advised Romney’s campaign. 

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