With Hillary Clinton likely just a week away or so away from announcing her vice presidential pick, Republicans are making their own preparations, hoping to tarnish Clinton's choice as soon as she makes it.
America Rising, the GOP opposition research super PAC, has already developed research books on Clinton’s potential ticket-mates, and gave NBC News a look at their plan of attack. The group created a website detailing what they believe are the five top lines of attack on each potential running mate.
"The minute Secretary Clinton announces her running mate there will be a feeding frenzy for information about that individual,” said the group’s spokesperson, Jeff Bechdel. “We created Clinton Veepstakes as a resource to immediately begin driving negative news narratives against the nominee.”
Releasing the site could help Clinton’s campaign prepare their defenses, but it will also help Republicans get negative information and storylines included in early news stories about Clinton’s eventual running mate. Clinton’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The site include six Democrats whom Clinton has eyed for the slot. It’s missing some in contention, however, like Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and James Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy Admiral vetted by Clinton and considered a dark-horse pick.
Here are what America Rising views as the top weakness of each possible contender:
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine — The Republican group sees the former Democratic Party chairman’s main vulnerability as being a career politician and party insider with a thin record as governor of Virginia to back it up. They also knock tax increases he proposed as governor and his self-professed boringness.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — The GOP group thinks Warren is too liberal and notes she’s further to the left than Clinton on some issues. But the top item on America Rising’s list is the controversy over Warren’s Native American heritage, which Republicans claim she lied about in order to get an unfair hiring advantage. They also highlight some "questionable real estate investments."
Labor Secretary Tom Perez — The secretary’s relative inexperience and liberalism top the list, with allegations that his support for progressive labor policies would be “bad for business.” They also note that, like Clinton, Perez used private emails to conduct government business and that he was involved in what Republican lawmakers claim was a quid pro quo deal that cost the federal government money.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro — The knock on Castro is essentially that he’s in too much of a hurry. America Rising calls him a “political opportunist” who advanced from a "failed" mayorship (San Antonio saw a 71.5 percent increase in the number of rapes, the site states) to a “failed” tenure as housing secretary. The group also highlights Castro’s connection to the law firm of a major Democratic donor who was indicted.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown — The GOP group’s most damaging line of attack on Brown is that he’s a career politician who first ran for office at 21. Otherwise, they accuse him of being too liberal on energy and healthcare policy, calling him an “extreme partisan” who has supported tax increases.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — The main line of attack against Booker is essentially that he’s more concerned about his career and image than his constituents — “more active selfie-taker than legislator,” as America Rising puts it. They also note his strong support for charter schools may be at odds with Clinton’s more teacher union-friendly views on education reform.