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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Democratic Model for American Crossroads GPS

At The Huffington Post, Sam Stein reports:

During the 2008 campaign, a group of Democratic operatives essentially tried to create its own version of American Crossroads GPS. Progressive Media was formed in 2007 as an independent opposition research arm for the presidential campaign. The organization, structured then as a 527 group, produced notable hits, including footage of John McCain saying he would be comfortable if U.S. forces were in Iraq for 100 years as well as the first mention of the Arizona Republican's numerous homes.

But the money that Progressive Media needed for operations was all but cut off after the Obama campaign sent out word to donors that it wanted the funds channeled through its shop. The decision proved remarkably helpful to the campaign, which was provided with a historic funding stream to overwhelm the McCain campaign's message. But it was a blow for Progressive Media, which was forced to evolve into several different incarnations. The first was Progressive Accountability, a 501c(4) group that produced issue-oriented material. The second was a separate group, Accountable America, an organization set up by operative Tom Matzzie (a founder of Progressive Media) with the purpose of digging up dirt on major Republican donors.

Both groups played important roles in the 2008 campaign. But after the election they've been revamped. Progressive Accountability is now fully incorporated under the umbrella of two more mainstream Democratic institutions -- Media Matters and the Center for American Progress. Accountable America has been focused on financial regulatory reform.

With the 2010 elections now ramping up, Accountable America is now "evaluating whether there is a viable 2010 program around issues in the elections," Matzzie says. But the prevailing fear among operatives is that there simply is no alternative force to what Rove and Gillespie have built.

"It was a successful model and idea that the Democratic side shut down but the Republicans were smart enough to pick it up," said one former Progressive Accountability official.