It’s not easy being an Obama for America volunteer, especially when you feel ill-equipped to respond to the waves of attacks from his critics, says Jennifer Kickliter, a Tennessee college student who’s signed up for the 2012 campaign.
“What do I tell people who point out that the Affordable Care Act isn’t helping people, and that the ”don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal was accompanied by a court order Obama plans to fight?” she said in July during an online chat with several Obama campaign aides at Chicago headquarters.
“It’s great to say ‘talk about his accomplishments,’ but we need to be able to address people’s legitimate concerns, too,” she said.
Now, Kickliter, and other Obama supporters like her, could get some help in the new campaign-sponsored website AttackWatch.com.
Obama for America national field director Jeremy Bird said the site offers “new resources to fight back,” including policy issue pages that fact check statements by Obama’s Republican opponents with links to “evidence” to back them up. Its slogan is “Get the facts. Fight the smears.”
According to the site, Obama volunteers can also help campaign headquarters keep track of attacks on the president by submitting “reports” via mailform and tweeting about them using the Twitter hashtag #attackwatch.
The initiative is a throwback to a similar online effort launched by Team Obama during the 2008 campaign, called Fight the Smears.
“What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon — that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge but enemies to demonize,” Obama said in 2008, words that were posted atop FightTheSmears.com.
That quote and a similar pledge are absent from this latest incarnation of a truth-seeking website. Perhaps it’s a sign of what’s to come.