Friday, April 25, 2014
Can This Oppo Research Guru Survive the Mudslinging in Her GOP Primary?
| Fri Apr. 25, 2014 3:00 AM PDT
It was early April, debate night for the half-dozen Republican candidates vying to replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), and the frontrunner, Del. Barbara Comstock, was getting a taste of her own medicine. That is, she was on the receiving end of some premium opposition research.
Comstock earned her stripes as the consummate Washington political operative by digging up dirt on the Clinton White House. She would later go on to hang out a shingle as a hired PR gun and lobbyist for some of DC's most controversial figures, including ex-Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby and Blackwater's Erik Prince. She'd built a career out of driving the narrative.
But now, on stage at a middle school in Sterling, Virginia, all she could do was shake her head as Rob Wasinger, one of her opponents, went on the offensive. Wasinger, a onetime chief of staff to ex-Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, invoked Comstock's lobbying work on behalf Carnival Cruise Corporation. The company, he explained, earned $236 million in taxpayer funding from the Hurricane Katrina relief bill in 2005, ostensibly to provide housing for evacuees. But the boats it sent to the Gulf Coast were never more than half full and the cruise company charged more than twice what it would have for an actual cruise.