Entries in American Bridge 21st Century (2)


Former Romney Campaign Manager Forms Super PAC to Combat Dems

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The world of political opposition research got a little more crowded on Thursday with the formation of a new Republican super PAC aimed at roughing up Democratic candidates, particularly the 2016 presidential contenders.

The group, headed by Mitt Romney’s former campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, plans to expose political opponents “for pandering, flip-flopping, corruption, conflicts of interest and more,” according to talking points obtained by ABC News.

The group will be called America Rising and it is meant to be the Republican answer to the Democratic super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, which launched during the 2012 cycle with a similar mission.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” American Bridge president Rodell Mollineau said in an interview. “A few words of caution: It’s not as easy as it looks.”

Mollineau said the group’s founders, including Rhoades and two former Republican National Committee officials, will soon confront “a bevy of operational financial political considerations.” And he pointed out that American Bridge has a two-year head start and one presidential election cycle under its belt.

Nevertheless, officials with America Rising see their upstart group as filling a void.

“We plan to start this enterprise because so many Republicans seem to agree there is a need on our side of the aisle for an entity that is focused solely on holding Democrats accountable for their actions and records using research, candidate tracking, rapid response and digital tools,” Rhoades said in a statement.

And the Republican operatives say they are not only going to “mimic” Mollineau and his team, they plan to “lap” the Democrats by “a) investing in an online infrastructure that has never before been built for political research, b) using the Super PAC as a testing ground for finding the most effective digital and rapid response tools for disseminating information about Democrat candidates and left-wing causes.”

Joining Rhoades in the venture are former RNC spokesman Tim Miller and former RNC research director Joe Pounder, both of whom are experienced GOP political hands. The organization will have two arms — one to provide campaigns, advocacy groups and party committees with research and tracking intelligence and another that will spearhead communications, social media and digital advertising. The group says it will not run television ads.

The formation of a GOP research arm was among the recommendations contained in Monday’s release of the RNC’s post-election “autopsy” report.

In 2011 and 2012, American Bridge dispatched trackers around the country, focusing on both the Republican presidential hopefuls as well as GOP candidates in key U.S. Senate races. The group also produced reams of research material on those on Mitt Romney’s vice presidential short list.

Mollineau said that Republican House, Senate, gubernatorial and presidential candidates are all on his super PAC’s target list in the coming election cycles. And he told ABC News he harbored no ill will toward the new GOP effort — even tweeting a congratulatory message to Miller on Thursday.

“Our job is to hold Republicans accountable for their actions,” Mollineau said. “I don’t necessarily see that as being at war with a Republican version of American bridge.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


SC Flyer Campaign Focuses on Romney's Position on Gay Rights

ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- If a Democratic-allied super PAC has its way, Mitt Romney's past statements on gay rights issues will come back to haunt him in South Carolina this week.

The group, American Bridge 21st Century, has produced an anti-Romney flyer designed to expose a series of Romney's more sympathetic comments about the gay and lesbian community.

"We thought you'd like to see how much common ground there is between Mitt Romney and some of the great voices of the LGBT rights movement," the top of the flyer reads.

What follows are four Romney quotes paired with similar comments by gay rights leaders Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Lt. Dan Choi and the gay Massachusetts congressman, Barney Frank.

"The gay community needs more support from the Republican Party," reads one of Romney's quotes on the flyer, which is printed on pink paper.

The group began distributing the fliers on car windshields in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday outside a forum moderated by Mike Huckabee and S.C. Congressman Tim Scott. They plan to continue handing them out all week long at selected venues throughout the state, including in church parking lots on Sunday morning.

American Bridge's goal is to chip away at Romney's support among conservative voters in the state, especially evangelical Christians.

"This isn't about painting Romney as a liberal to voters in South Carolina," the group's president, Rodell Mollineau, said in an interview with ABC News. "It really is about showing voters that this man has no core and he will say anything to get elected."

Mollineau's group, which has dispatched trackers to follow the GOP candidates over the course of the primary season, plans other attacks on Romney this week ahead of the state's Jan. 21 primary. American Bridge will use video, social media and possibly newspaper ads to exploit what they see as the former Massachusetts governor's vulnerabilities in at least two other areas: his position on abortion and his evolution as a conservative.

The hand-outs are meant to mirror fliers that were reportedly distributed by Romney during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts that included a statement by Romney and his running mate, Kerry Healy that read: "All citizens deserve equal rights regardless of their sexual preference."

Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, who served as communications director for the candidate's 2002 bid, recently told the Huffington Post that he never saw or approved the decade-old fliers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio