Monday, December 25, 2006

"Democrats waste no time campaigning for 2008"

Political operatives and officials from both parties usually take long lunches, long weekends and long vacations in the two months right after an election — win or lose.

But fired up by the outcome of the November midterm elections, Democrats scrapped that practice and are going after potential 2008 Republican candidates.

With their party leadership in transition, GOP presidential front-runners are confronted with a Democratic Party that decided not to close shop after the elections.
"It didn't happen by accident," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "We're tired . . . but we always had plans for after Nov. 7."

Since the election, there have been some long days for the opposition-research department at the DNC, which has circulated reports on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Across the country, more than 100 DNC staffers remain in the field, continuing to build up Chairman Howard Dean's grass-roots "50-state program" and laying groundwork on a coordinated campaign to support the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.

The Democratic committee showed some of its research prowess just before the election, issuing a Nov. 3 statement calling on Giuliani and another want-to-run Republican, New York Gov. George Pataki, to cancel appearances with embattled, and ultimately defeated, upstate Rep. John Sweeney.

The "oppo" Democrats, led by research director Devorah Adler, have spent the year compiling research on prospective GOP candidates. Staffers sift through everything from legislative votes and bill proposals to public and personal financial records.

The Democrats have compiled dossiers on every prospective candidate.

Adler declined to be interviewed, but in a memo to staff, she joked about the GOP field, saying, "Oh, our '08ers. They're an endless source of entertainment for us."

The Republicans have their own oppo researchers, but after the painful defeat the GOP suffered at all levels this year, followed by the resignation of party Chairman Ken Mehlman, their outfit has not kept up with the Democrats, one GOP insider confided.

The Republican National Committee must revive and rebuild operations after the new year under the stewardship of the incoming chairman, Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla..

"We will be back in plenty of time for the '08 race," the GOP source added.

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