Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Obama Hopes "Truth Team" in 13 Swing States Will Parry GOP Attacks

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President Obama, in full-blown campaign mode, has launched a project to recruit his adherents to counter any attacks on himself or his record in the months leading up to the election.

ABC News reports, “The Obama campaign is today beginning a new effort to enlist and educate at least 2 million supporters for a ‘grassroots communications team’ they’re calling the Truth Team.” These administration allies will be mobilized in 13 swing states — Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

A statement released by the Obama campaign explains, "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.”

In addition to the Truth Team, the campaign will also be engaged in a “social media blitz,” which will direct the President's supporters to three new websites: KeepingHisWord.com, which will highlight all the promises that President Obama has allegedly kept, KeepingGOPHonest.com, focused on GOP policy positions, and AttackWatch.com, which will feature fact checks of all assertions made by the GOP against Obama.

“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,” deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter asserted in an email. ”We’re fighting back.”

For the most part, the websites focus almost exclusively on Mitt Romney. For example, Attack Watch quotes this Romney statement: “[Obama’s] been trying to take a bow for 8.3 percent unemployment. Not so fast, Mr. President...We welcome any good news on the jobs front, but it is thanks to the innovation of the American people in the private sector, not to you.” The website than inserts its retort: “Far from taking ‘a bow,’ President Obama has been clear about the fact that we still have a long road ahead of us. When President Obama took office in January 2009, we were shedding nearly 800,000 jobs a month. His immediate, decisive action to stop the bleeding reversed the trend. We’ve now seen 23 straight months of private sector job growth, creating a total of 3.7 million jobs.”

According to Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski, the latest campaign efforts for the President are a desperate attempt at spinning his poor record:

The Obama campaign is organizing propaganda teams to deceive voters because Americans are catching onto the reality that Obama’s record doesn’t match his rhetoric. How else will they mask the broken promises like introducing another trillion dollar deficit or the fact that the president continues to recycle the same proposals without ever seeing results.

This is by no means the first time the President has resorted to such methods. In Obama's 2008 presidential bid, the “Fight the Smears” campaign reportedly involved more than one million supporters in “public education” roles.

Some Obama fans in Missouri took their agenda too far, vowing to arrest anyone who told “lies” about him, and did what they could to intimidate anyone who criticized either him or his policies.

The Detroit Free Press reported on September 30, 2008:

A local television station’s coverage of a Missouri campaign "truth squad" on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has touched off a national Internet frenzy. What has prompted all the furor is that several members of the Obama’s "truth squad" in Missouri are prosecutors or members of law enforcement. They include St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. All are Democrats.

Then-Governor of Missouri Matt Blunt responded:

What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words. The party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment. This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights.

President Obama again utilized such an idea not long after his election. In 2009, he urged his supporters to not only denounce opponents of his healthcare plan, but also to report any negative press or emails to the White House. A post on the White House website read:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

President even went so far as to dispatch truth squads in an attempt to negate every item found in Jerome Corsi’s popular book Where’s the Birth Certificate? which claimed that President Obama was not a natural-born citizen.

Cass Sunstein, Obama confidante and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has his own interesting theories on how to deal with negative coverage. In a 2008 Harvard Law Review paper Sunstein asserted that he would regard any information spoken against the regime in power as “a conspiracy theory.” According to Sunstein, the government should be employing covert agents to “cognitively infiltrate online groups and websites as well as other activist groups which advocate views that are ‘false’ about the government.” Incredibly, he admitted that even if the oppositional voices were in fact correct, they must be discredited so as to “increase the citizens’ faith in government officials.”

Sunstein even proposed Internet censorship to be enforced through regulated links in news pieces to opposing opinions, though he later retracted that proposal, admitting it would be “too difficult to regulate in a way that would respond to those concerns” and that it was “almost certainly unconstitutional.”

Sunstein has also called for the rewriting of the First Amendment.

Obama’s friends at Media Matters for America are utilizing similar but slightly more intrusive tactics. A memo from the media group that was obtained by the Daily Caller reveals that Media Matters will be employing an “opposition research team” to target the President's political enemies. The memo, likely written in 2009, states:

We will conduct extensive public records searches and compile opposition books on individuals. [Investigations] will focus on the backgrounds, connections, operations and political and financial activities of the individuals.

Some of the political enemies targeted by the memo are employees of the Fox News Channel and News Corporation — not solely television and radio personalities, but employees at all levels, including cameramen, producers, etc.

Another target is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who, according to the memo, “directly funded, through a small government group, prior racist attack videos by James O’Keefe, the right-wing operative who staged the recent ACORN video sting. Thiel’s role in funding such attacks has gone completely unremarked and largely uninvestigated."

Observers note that it is clear that President Obama and his supporters fear the opposition and are willing to resort to drastic, often Orwellian measures to quash opposing views.

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