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34 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
In the season finale of OPPO FILE, we solve a mystery: Who set in motion the oppo research into Geraldine Ferraro’s family finances? Host Joseph Rodota interviews John Roberts, former Reagan aide and author; Sheila Tate, former press secretary to Nancy Reagan; and author Kate Andersen Brower.
35 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
A Tiger by the Tail
On July 12, 1984, Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale made history when he named Representative Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. The next day, New York lawyer Roy Cohn arrived in the offices of the Reagan re-election campaign. First of two parts.
24 minutes | Oct 8, 2020
Oppo research nearly ended Vice President Mike Pence’s political career before it began. Host Joseph Rodota interviews author and journalist Craig Ferhman and former congressional aide Billy Linville about Pence’s 1988 and 1990 congressional campaigns.
24 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
The Weirdness Factor
Opposition research isn’t just a tool for understanding your opponent. It’s also a tool for understanding yourself.Host Joseph Rodota interviews Chris Lyon, who wrote a “vulnerability study” on Rudy Giuliani in 1993. Nearly two decades later, Fred Smith solves a mystery.
20 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
Why do some campaigns wait for just the right moment to unveil their opposition research, while others decide to dump it all at once?Host Joseph Rodota interviews Pat Dennis, Trump War Room Research Director at American Bridge 21st Century.
12 minutes | Sep 9, 2020
Bonus Episode: Gary Maloney
Gary Maloney was the first GOP opposition researcher to dig into the record of a rising star in Illinois politics, a young man named Barack Obama. In this bonus episode, Gary shares insights from that assignment – and an oppo researcher’s view of a now-infamous meeting that took place in Trump Tower in 2016.
21 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
A Million Questions
Heading into Labor Day weekend, host Joseph Rodota recaps the 2020 Democratic and Republican conventions. GOP oppo researcher Gary Maloney and press aide Jeff Nesbit describe the chaotic roll-out of George H.W. Bush’s vice presidential nominee, Sen. Dan Quayle. Democratic opposition researcher Shauna Daly leaps into action after Sen. John McCain selects a little-known governor as his running mate.
8 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
Bonus Episode: Tom Rosenstiel
In 1988, George H.W. Bush overcame a 17-point deficit in the polls and won the election. In this bonus episode, journalist and author Tom Rosenstiel looks back at Bush’s campaign manager Lee Atwater – and why Donald Trump survived an avalanche of oppo in 2016.
30 minutes | Aug 6, 2020
The Spider's Web
Is oppo research stranger than fiction? Who killed Dr. Death? Joseph Rodota interviews author and journalist Tom Rosenstiel; speechwriter, business consultant and author Mark Davis; and Dr. Jonathan Cullick, professor of English at Northern Kentucky University.
13 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
Bonus Episode: Sonia Van Meter
Host Joseph Rodota interviews Sonia Van Meter, the managing partner of Stanford Campaigns, a Democratic opposition research firm based in Austin, TX. They cover interesting ground – and not just on Planet Earth.
26 minutes | Jul 22, 2020
Law and Order
What is the legacy of the bitter 1988 presidential campaign? How are oppo researchers approaching their work amidst the current national reckoning over race and policing? Host Joseph Rodota interviews Susan Estrich, the Dukakis campaign manager; Jack Corrigan, deputy campaign manager; Dr. Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College and author of a book about the ’88 campaign; Dr. Marcia Chatelain, author and professor of history and African American Studies at Georgetown University; and Sonia Van Meter, the managing partner of an opposition research firm headquartered in Austin, Texas.
28 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
Three by Five
What happens when opposition researchers unearth something that touches a racial nerve? Host Joseph Rodota interviews Susan Estrich, campaign manager for Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign, about the Massachusetts prison furlough program and the case of William Horton. Georgetown professor and historian Dr. Marcia Chatelain looks back at two controversial campaign ads, and a former opposition researcher takes listeners on a road trip to Boston.
19 minutes | Jun 10, 2020
The Dark Art
Political attacks have been around as long as democracy itself, but where exactly does the history of “oppo research” begin? Hosts Kate Andersen Brower and Joseph Rodota interview historian and author Susan Swain about a campaign in which the target of opposition researchers wasn’t the candidate – it was the candidate’s wife. And in 2016, Liz Mair unearths a risqué photo of Melania Trump, setting in motion a series of charges and counter-charges on the campaign trail – and provoking an ominous threat.
3 minutes | May 22, 2020
TRAILER: Introducing OPPO FILE
OPPO FILE digs deep into the shadowy world of opposition research -- the art of digging into the background of a political opponent in order to identify weaknesses that can be exploited in a campaign. Hosts Kate Andersen Brower and Joseph Rodota interview oppo researchers from both parties and ask them why they chose this profession and how they package the damaging information they unearth. Is everything about a candidate – no matter how personal – fair game?
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