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Sunday, September 26, 2010

American Crossroads: The Origins

Jim Ruternberg writes in The New York Times:

In April, Mr. Rove summoned several of the important players behind Mr. Bush’s ascendance to his home once again, this time to draw up plans to push a Republican resurgence.

Over takeout chicken pot pies, the group — the Republican fund-raiser Fred Malek, the onetime lobbyist and Bush White House counselor Ed Gillespie, and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary Cheney, among others — agreed on plans for an ambitious new political machine that would marshal the resources of disparate business, nonprofit and interest groups to bring Republicans back to power this fall.


“A lot of what we’re doing would normally be done with the R.N.C.,” said Ms. Cheney, who is part of a group, the Alliance for America’s Future, that is working with the organizations Mr. Rove helped start on encouraging early voting in House races this fall. “There’s no money there.”

Crossroads officials say they are seeking to supplement party activities, not replace them.

In a brief interview, Mr. Rove said he was trying to help build something that would remain in place beyond November. “We want this to be durable,” he said.


Around the same time, Mr. Rove came up with the idea of gathering other like-minded outside groups at his home on Weaver Terrace in Northwest Washington. Calling themselves the Weaver Terrace Group in honor of that first meeting, the participants now regularly reconvene at the Crossroads offices downtown to ensure that they work in tandem and avoid overlap.

Central to the effort is the development of a sophisticated list of voters that several of the groups share and contribute to, helping organizations like Ms. Cheney’s, for instance, to identify people likely to vote by early absentee ballot in House races.


Whatever battle Mr. Viguerie predicts, Mr. Duncan said the group would have staying power. “We’re going to be involved in 2012,” he said. “That’s what we’re gearing for.”

And it is using the microtargeting technique that Rove helped pioneer, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:

On the Republican side, GOP-aligned groups such as American Crossroads are homing in on issue-driven Nevada voters, too. The brain trust behind the group is Karl Rove, who helped George W. Bush win a second presidential term in 2004 by using micro-targeting in 16 battleground states.

American Crossroads already is running TV ads here to boost Angle over Reid. And it plans to spend $10 million in Nevada and seven other states on get-out-the-vote efforts through Nov. 2.

Instead of putting boots on the ground, however, American Crossroads will work by mail and phone. It will focus on all Republican voters, as well as the independent voters who are most likely to go into the ballot box for this midterm election.

American Crossroads plans to use voter files and study voting patterns to deliver absentee ballots and early voting notifications to targeted Nevadans, and to persuade people to back Angle.

"In a race like this, every last factor is going to count," said Jonathan Collegio, spokesman for American Crossroads. "Micro-targeting is a system of leveraging every last bit of information into voter turnout to get your voters to the polls, whoever they may be."