Obama launches online campaign against ‘smears’

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama launched a new website Thursday devoted to dousing “smears” against the first African-American with a serious shot at the presidency.

The site at http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/fightthesmearshome/ debunks false rumors doing the rounds of the Internet and right-wing media outlets — including one recent assertion that Obama’s wife Michelle has been caught on tape slurring white people.

Obama’s main campaign website already had a fact-check section to refute rumors such as the Christian candidate is a secret Muslim. But aides said the new site went further in inviting supporters to spread the word.

“We created an interactive tool to allow our supporters to fight back against these smears in the same way that they received them — on the Internet,” campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

“People can upload their address books and easily send fact-based emails to their friends and family,” he said.

“Just knowing the truth isn’t enough — you have to proactively tell people the truth to fight back.”

The new initiative was launched after reports, by conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh among others, that a videotape existed showing Michelle Obama using the derogatory term “whitey” in the couple’s former church.

No such tape has surfaced despite frenzied speculation by right-wing pundits and blogs, and Obama last week decried the mainstream media’s attention to “dirt and lies.”

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