Facing a fresh wave of vicious robocalls, the Obama campaign launched a fact-checking website on Friday that allows voters to report and research the various attacks.
The site, called Under the Radar, is the second online tool created by Obama headquarters as a means of nipping smears in the bud. It is another non-traditional move by the Democratic campaign, one designed to highlight and actually take advantage of his opponent's most aggressive attacks.
"Politics 101 suggests that you don't repeat the attacks made by your opponent," an aide said. "But we know this -- they are made below the radar for a reason -- because they don't want the attacks to be seen for what they are in the light of the truth. So by exposing them and also giving people the facts and tools to spread the truth we think in this case that rule doesn't apply."
The site also draws more attention to McCain's campaign tactics, which voters view as increasingly negative and unfair, according to several recent opinion polls. In the past week, the GOP ticket has launched a series of robocall campaigns going after Obama on everything from his association with Bill Ayers, his stances on crime, gun control, and abortion, and his willingness to "negotiate with terrorists." The calls have been met with some sharp criticism, including from several prominent Republicans, like former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Radar.BarackObama.com is, in the end, just one component of the Obama campaign's pushback effort. Already the Senator has hosted various press conferences denouncing the McCain campaigns tactics, including one in Ohio featuring Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. Sherrod Brown. The campaign has also put out response-robocalls of its own, featuring the testimony of local voters who say they are fed up with the Republican attacks.
The new website is designed to be more interactive, allowing voters to report the robocalls or other attacks that pop up in their geographic area and get the Obama campaign's actual position on each of the issues referenced in the call.
The site launch was announced in an email to Obama's ActionWire email list.