Alan Huffman & Michael Rejebian

  • Aired:  02/20/12
  •  | Views: 5,796

Authors Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian reveal the details of working for Democratic Party candidates as political opposition researchers. (6:15)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUESTS TONIGHT ARE FORMER

NEWSPAPER REPORTERS.

THEY CURRENTLY WORK AS

POLITICAL OPPOSITION

RESEARCHERS.

THEIR NEW BOOK IS CALLED TWO

INSIDERS WHO SEE THE DARK SIDE

OF AMERICAN POLITICS.

PLEASE WELCOME THEM TO THE

SHOW.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

HELLO, ALAN AND MICHAEL.

COME AND SIT.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

MY FIRST QUESTION IS, WHO ARE

YOU WORKING FOR?

NOW, EVEN THE FACT THAT YOU'VE

PUT IT OUT IN A PAPERBACK

GIVES IT A SENSE OF INTRIGUE

AND C.I.A.-TYPE FREE.

LIKE I'M SUPPOSED TO PUT THIS

IN A BAG AND THEN DELIVER IT

TO SOMEBODY IN A PARK AND THEN

THEY READ IT.

IT'S ALL VERY NERVE WRACKING.

YOU'RE THE GUYS KNOW SHOW UP

AT A LOCAL COURTHOUSE AND SAY,

WE WERE WONDERING IF YOU HAVE

ANY INFORMATION ON SO-AND-SO?

>> EXACTLY.

>> Jon: DO YOU TELL THEM WHO

YOU'RE WORKING FOR?

>> THAT'S WHY WE CALL THE BOOK

NOBODY.

BECAUSE WHEN WE GO IN THERE

AND START ASKING QUESTIONS

USUALLY IT'S ABOUT A

POLITICIAN THEY KNOW.

THEY ALREADY KNOW WHO IT IS.

THEY'RE CURIOUS WHO WE'RE

WITH.

THEY ALWAYS SAY WHO ARE YOU

WITH TO GET INFORMATION.

WE ALWAYS SAY WE'RE WITH

NOBODY.

SOMETIMES I'LL SAY I'M WITH

HIM.

THAT SORT OF THROWS THEM.

>> Jon: IT GOES INTO ABBOTT

AND COSTELLO TERRITORY PRETTY

FAST.

>> NOSE DIVE.

>> Jon: NOW, DO THEY EVER IN

THE MOVIES I IMAGINE YOU'D BE

WORKING AND YOU WOULD FIND THE

FILE AND THEN THE MUSIC.

THE JAWS MUSIC OR WHATEVER.

THEY WOULD RUN TO THE PHONE

AND THEN THE LOCAL SHERIFF WHO

IS ON THE TAKE WOULD COME AND

YOU WOULD BE RUNNING FOR YOUR

LIVES?

WHAT IS IT IN REALITY?

>> WE USUALLY HAVE A COUPLE OF

THUGS THAT FOLLOW US IN A PICK-

UP TRUCK FOR A COUPLE DAYS.

>> Jon: IS THAT REALLY TRUE?

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: THUGS IN A PICK-UP

TRUCK.

>> A RUSTY PICK-UP TRUCK.

>> Jon: THUGS IN A RUSTY PICK-UP

TRUCK.

>> CORRECT.

>> Jon: WHY CAN'T THUGS BEAT

UP ENOUGH PEOPLE TO BUY A

BETTER TRUCK?

REALLY SAD.

DO YOU ONLY WORK FOR ONE... IN

OPPOSITION RESEARCH, DO

RESEARCHERS GENERALLY WORK FOR

ONE PARTY OR BOTH PARTIES?

>> ONE PARTY.

>> WE WORK FOR THE DEMOCRATIC

PARTY.

>> Jon: YOU DO.

BUT YOUR COUNTERPART THEN

WOULD WORK FOR THE REPUBLICAN

PARTY.

DO YOU KNOW THEM?

>> NO.

WE NEVER SEE THEM.

>> WE'LL WALK INTO A

COURTHOUSE AND THE CLERK WILL

SAY SOMEBODY WAS JUST HERE

ASKING FOR THAT SAME

INFORMATION, KIND OF LIKE AN

ALFRED HITCHCOCK THING.

>> Jon: THEY'RE LOOKING FOR

DIRT ON THEIR OWN GUY?

>> YEAH BECAUSE WE LOOK FOR

OUR GUY TOO BECAUSE IF YOU

WERE RUNNING FOR OFFICE-- SGOD

FORBID--

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: I'M GOING TO MAKE YOUR

LIVES MUCH EASIER.

THERE'S A PICTURE OF ME AT A

PARTY IN COLLEGE WITH MY BALLS

IN A TUB OF "I CAN'T BELIEVE

IT'S NOT BUTTER."

LET'S JUST END IT RIGHT THERE.

SO YOU'RE LOOKING FOR YOUR

GUY.

WHAT IF YOU FIND SOMETHING

DAMAGING ON YOUR GUY?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T

WIN ANY POPULARITY CONTEST

BECAUSE WE HAVE TO GO IN AND

THEM THEM.

YOU HOPE YOU DON'T.

THAT'S WHAT THEY PAY US TO DO.

WE LOOK AT OUR GUY JUST AS

VIGOROUSLY AS WE DO OUR

OPPONENT.

SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO GO

IN AND GIVE THEM THE NEWS THAT

THERE'S SOME STUFF THERE

THAT'S NOT GOOD.

>> Jon: DO THEY EVER SAY TO

YOU, BURY THIS?

MAKE THIS GO AWAY?

DO THEY EVER SAY IT IN THIS

TONE OF VOICE?

BURY THIS.

MAKE THIS GO AWAY.

>> UNFORTUNATELY ONCE WE DIG

IT UP WE CAN'T REALLY BURY IT

AGAIN.

IT'S ALREADY OUT THERE.

SO, NO.

>> Jon: BUT DO THEY SAY SNIT.

>> YEAH, A COUPLE OF TIMES.

>> Jon: DO YOU GET>n-" TO DECIDE?

YOUR GOAL IS BASICALLY YOU'RE

SAYING BASICALLY LIKE WE'RE

JUST FINDING OUT THE TRUTH.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: BUT AS YOU KNOW LIKE

THOSE LARGE THINGS ARE MANY

SHADES OF GRAY.

TO USE SOMETHING IN A

POLITICAL AD, PEOPLE BEND THAT

ALL THE TIME.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SAY IN HOW

THIS STUFF IS USED?

>> NOT GENERALLY.

WE GET TO SEE WHEN IT GOES TO

THE POLLSTER WE LOOK AT THE

QUESTIONS TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE

ACCURATE.

WHEN THE MEDIA GUYS RIGHT A

SCRIPT WE MAKE SURE IT'S

ACCURATE.

FOR THE MOST PART OUR PART OF

THE JOB IS DONE.

>> Jon: HAVE YOU DONE RESEARCH

ON A CANDIDATE, 200 PAGES ON

HIM.

YOU THOUGHT TO YOURSELF PRETTY

DECENT GUY BUT HERE'S THE ONE

THING WE FOUND.

I CAN'T SEE HOW THIS IS GOING

TO CRUSH HIM.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH... ANDSFUĆ³

YOU WATCH THAT BEING DONE?

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?

LET'S JUST SAY SOUL WATCH.

>> IT DEPENDS ON WHAT IT IS.

WE HAD A GUY THAT HAD BEEN

ARRESTED FOR THROWING A PIPE

BOMB AT A HOME COMING FLOAT.

>> Jon: THAT WOULD NOT BE A

SHADE OF GRAY.

I'M TALKING ABOUT SOMEBODY

THAT HAS DONE THE RIGHT THING,

SEEMS LIKE AN UPSTANDING GUY.

HAD SOMETHING IN HIS PAST THAT

MIGHT NOT EVEN BE ILLEGAL BUT

CLEARLY IN THIS ELECTION WOULD

BE DAMAGING.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

>> WE'RE STILL GOING TO TURN

IT INTO THE CAMPAIGN BUT WE'RE

GOING TO BASICALLY TELL THEM

THIS GUY LOOKS CLEAN OVERALL.

IF YOU GO OUT THERE WITH THIS,

THE ODDS ARE IT'S GOING TO

MAKE YOU LOOK BAD.

THEY USUALLY DON'T WANT TO DO

IT ANYWAY BECAUSE THEY'RE

ALWAYS AFRAID OF THE BLOW-BACK

FROM GOING NEGATIVE.

YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW IT TO

WATCH TV.

>> Jon: IS THERE A LAIR

UNDERNEATH YOU GUYS OF THE

GUYS THAT WEAR THE GLOVES?

AND CARRY 1920s WEAPONS AND DO

THINGS LIKE THAT?

LIKE IS THERE A LAIR LIKE

BEYOND THE OPPOSITION

RESEARCHERS THAT REALLY, WHERE

YOU GET INTO THE....

>> I THINK WE'RE THE LAIR.

>> Jon: YOU'RE THE GUYS.

>> WE'RE THE BOTTOM LAIR.

>> Jon: CONGRATULATIONS FOR

BEING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE

BOWL.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Jon: WE APPRECIATE IT.

VERY WELL WRITTEN AND VERY

ENTERTAINING.

IF YOU WANT TO GET A SENSE OF

HOW THIS STUFF OPERATES, A

GREAT WAY TO DO IT.

IT'S ON THE BOOK SHELVES NOW.

THANK YOU BOTH.

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