The Obama campaign announced this morning that they will launch a new crowd-sourced initiative, to in their words, “promote the President’s achievements, respond to attacks on his record and hold the eventual Republican nominee accountable.”
The effort follows up a similar one in 2008 called “Fight The Smears” which was designed to debunk rumors that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya or was a Muslim. That decision came amid some hand-wringing over whether or not it was better to ignore the false rumors in the hopes that they would go away or confront them head on.
This time around, in a signal of what the campaign will look like going forward, the effort is less focused on Mr. Obama and more focused on his Republican opponent, with websites like KeepingGOPHonest.com, and AttackWatch.com -“serving as quick, comprehensive resources to help set the record straight,” the campaign writes.
Designed to put responsibility for spreading the truth in the hands of the President’s supporters, the websites contain videos and information on the President’s record, and fact checks on Republican claims about the President and themselves. The sites also contain tools for sharing materials via Facebook, Twitter and email, and empowers supporters to take further action by volunteering, writing letters to the editor, sending postcards to undecided voters with information about the President’s record, and more. The goal is to ensure that when Republicans attack President Obama’s record, grassroots supporters can take ownership of the campaign and share the facts with the undecided voters in their lives.
This campaign will be a state-by-state effort and will be powered by some of the president’s union allies in National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the United Steelworkers Union.
The email from campaign aide Stephanie Cutter to supporters announcing the new initiative is below
Subject: Sit back or fight back
If we’ve learned anything from the Republican primaries, it’s that this is no ordinary election.
The GOP candidates are spending a huge amount of time attacking President Obama — no surprise. But instead of basing their attacks on our differences of opinion, they’ve chosen to run on claims about his record that just aren’t true.
Mitt Romney says that, despite 23 consecutive months of job growth under the President’s watch, he’s made the recession “worse.” Rick Santorum says that the Affordable Care Act, which was based in part on Republican proposals and provides millions of Americans with access to affordable, private health insurance, is a government takeover of health care. They’re not acting alone: With the newfound power of outside groups, these lies can be instantly amplified with millions of dollars in special-interest ad spending.
If the other guys are going to run a campaign based on misrepresenting the President’s record — and their own — we have two options: sit back and let these lies go unchallenged, or fight back with the truth.
We’re fighting back. Today we’re introducing a new resource for grassroots supporters who want to make sure that when voters go to the polls in November, they know the truth — and you should be a part of it.
Will you sign up to be a member of the Truth Team? [Links to: http://www.barackobama.com/truth-team]
The website has three sections to reflect the team’s goals: Keeping his word, where we’ll communicate about President Obama’s record and promises kept; Attack Watch, to fight back against false attacks on the President; and Keeping GOP Honest, where we’ll debunk the Republicans’ false claims about their own records.
In short, it’s the grassroots communications team of the Obama 2012 campaign. We’ll provide resources for you to learn everything you need to know and tools to help you share it with undecided voters in your life.
Communicating about the President’s record — and that of our opponents — is what I do full-time. But people don’t just want to hear from campaign statements or ads — they want to hear from the family and friends they trust.
The President needs folks on board to roll up their sleeves, stand with him, and get the truth out all over the country.
So the next time you hear Mitt Romney accusing the President of “crony capitalism” or someone asking, “What has President Obama really accomplished?” you’ll know what to do.
If you’re ready to fight lies with the truth, sign up now:
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America