As the political adage tells us, “a lie can be halfway around the world before truth ever gets its boots on.” The Swift-Boat school of smear politics like that we experienced in the 2004 election relies on this lag time to undermine any real political debate and slip dissembling candidates into office. Sadly, that’s just the sort of effort we have seen this year from John McCain and Sarah Palin, his hatchet woman, who is an effective attack dog. Fortunately, at least this time, truth has at least a fighting chance thanks to a democratic mechanism that Barack Obama’s campaign has mastered: the Internet. The campaign has used a Web site called “Fight the Smears,” which enabled the Obama campaign to refute untruths directly and instantly. Senator Obama and Senator Biden also were quick to refute the lies and distortions from the McCain crowd and their responses were quite different from how things were in 2004.
For example, one smear slung at Senator Obama claimed that he isn’t even an American, asserting that he can’t produce his birth certificate. The Obama campaign authoritatively responded by posting a copy of Obama’s U.S. birth certificate for all to see. In another smear, the Republican Party ran television ads distorting a comment by Michelle Obama, suggesting that she’s not patriotic. In response, the Web site posted a video of no less trustworthy a figure than first lady Laura Bush refuting this malicious lie. What about the claims by the McCain campaign that Obama is a Muslim, that he “refuses” to say the Pledge of Allegiance with his hand over his heart, that there’s no American flag painted on the outside of his campaign plane? All lies and easily refuted. If you haven’t taken a look and want the truth on any of the smear attacks, go to www.fightthesmears.com.
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