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April 23rd, 2012 1:30 pm
Inside the Minds of a Democratic Opposition Research Team

Roll Call has a behind-the-scenes look at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s opposition research team, and the findings aren’t pretty.

As any number of elections have taught us, a candidate’s personal history is just as relevant to voting decisions as his or her policy stances.  What makes the profile of the DCCC outfit stomach-churning, however, is the glee staff members exude from discovering the lowest points of other people’s lives:

Diana Asti, a newly promoted research analyst, finished a 204-page book on a target following seven days on the ground, 30 Freedom of Information requests and finding every word from the candidate ever on record. That morning in the DCCC’s second-floor conference room, Asti finally had the opportunity to reveal one of her biggest discoveries about her target: his secret first marriage.

“My head just went in all different directions, like maybe they’ve divorced and he hasn’t paid alimony, or maybe he has a child and he hasn’t paid child support,” exclaimed the 23-year-old Asti afterward in an interview. “I went into a million different directions of what this could possibly be. It was a very exciting moment.”

In case you’re wondering, the reason so few politicians seem “real” is because they live in fear of people like Diana Asti.

And let’s not forget her colleague Jonathan Pullum, a man who confesses the following desire whenever he sees his Republican target:

Occasionally, Pullum still sees his quirky research subject around Capitol Hill. Johnson doesn’t know the 24-year-old from any other young staffer, but Pullum describes his reaction as giddy.

“I have this real desire to be like, ‘How’s it going, buddy? Let’s talk about your diet,’” Pullum said. “It’s all these bizarre things that you know.”

Bizarre, indeed.

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