Opposition research (or oppo) is a term used to classify and describe efforts of supporters or paid consultants of a political candidate to legally investigate the biographical, legal or criminal, medical, educational, financial, public and private administrative and or voting records of the opposing candidate, as well as prior media coverage.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically per author.
- When oppo goes transparent, it might shrivel.
- Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, November 13, 2007.
- What's garbage today is gold years later... the trick is to catalog it, retrieve it, and connect the dots.
- Director of Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center, U.S. News & World Report, September 6, 1999.
- Candidates will be in a fund raising frenzy to try and raise enough cash to cover the television outlets in multiple population centers of all those states. They will be spending a great deal of time in studios preparing positive life story spots with appeal to each such population center. They will be spending more time in studios with attack ads on the other candidates based on the findings of continuing "opposition research." Who got drunk? Who used drugs? Who had an affair? Who has been married multiple times and what do their exes have to say about them? Who has made a bunch of money in some quick turnaround deal that can be made to look fishy? Who has had an illegal alien mow their lawn or watch their kids, or clean their house, etc. No candidate will have enough time to present themselves to those population centers as a "real" human being with "real" ideas and a "real" set of core beliefs and principles that resonate with those voters. Some, probably most, will come across as opportunistic attack dogs who simply want the power of the presidency by persuading voters to simply deny the prize to everyone else.
- Jerry Fox, "The Primary Symptom is Insanity," Townhall.com, February 14, 2007.
- Research is a fundamental point. We think of ourselves as the creators of the ammunition in a war. Research digs up the ammunition. We make the bullets... It's an amazing thing when you have topline producers and reporters calling you and saying 'we trust you...we need your stuff.'
- Tim Griffin, in Digging the Dirt, BBC documentary on opposition research, 2000.
- [Y]ou have to plant a lot of seeds in the spring and the summer so you can capitalize on it. If you have a story that's going to hit in the middle of September, middle of October, what you really want to do is build several things that come off of the story so that it's not just a one-day hit. If the story runs on the front page of a major paper, you also want to set it up so that it hits some of the television morning shows, and from there you want to have surrogates out the next day, so that you get a second hit. On the third day, ideally, you have some additional information you've been holding back that you can feed into it, another round of stories. On the fourth or fifth day you try to hold your candidate back from saying anything, so that eventually, when he does say something about the issue, you get another round of stories. If you do it all effectively, you can basically wipe out a guy's entire week. He'll spend the entire week responding to a story that showed up on a Monday.
- Chris Lehane, Atlantic Monthly, June 2004.
- Being a nerd helps; if you hunger to work with people, look elsewhere.
- Gary Maloney, Campaigns & Elections, 2006.
- Opposition research, if it's true, is probably 5 or 10 times more effective than paid media.
- James Pinkerton, Center for Public Integrity's "Dirty Politics".
- When they do surveys on the most reviled professions, lawyers, HMO managers, advertisers, members of Congress, used car salesmen and Barry Bonds' nutritionist top the list. It's always been my opinion, though, that the only reason opposition researchers aren't on that list is that few people know we exist.
- Jason Stanford, "The Dirt: Opposition Research," The Texas Blue, December 4, 2007.