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McCain's 2008 Anti-Mitt Romney Oppo Research Raised 2012 Themes

A document that purportedly represents opposition research targeting Mitt Romney from Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign was posted online by Buzzfeed reporter Andy Kaczynski.

Immediately noticeable is how many of criticisms of Romney by his rivals during the current race for the Republican presidential nomination could just have easily come from McCain's opposition research of four years ago.

For instance, of Romney's Bain Capital days, the 200-page document says:

"Bain Capital owned company named Ampad that purchased an Indiana paper plant, fired its workers and offered to bring them back at drastically reduced salary and benefits – the firings became an issue in the 1994 Senate race when workers blamed Romney for their situation and appeared in (Sen. Ted) Kennedy campaign ads."

Newt Gingrich and the ads by the anti-Romney superPAC supporting him, Winning Our Future, have surfed on similar themes.

There's also much material on Romney repeatedly changing his views on a number of key issues, like abortion for instance. You can easily visualize the sneer on the face of whoever wrote the following:

"During his political career, Romney has been pro-choice, then not pro-choice, then pro-choice again, now claims to be pro-life."

There are no bombshells and much of the "oppo" is, like much of the genre, a compilation of items from news sources. Still, the document is useful because it demonstrates how little the arguments against Romney have changed from four years ago.

No matter, McCain is now a Romney man, having endorsed him right before the New Hampshire primary. It seemed like political symmetry since Romney supported McCain's successful 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination after the former Massachusetts governor dropped out of the race.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.