By Samantha Hayes in Washington, D.C.
Senator Barack Obama has one. Senator John McCain decided he needs one, too. Now both candidates have launched websites they hope will provide rapid fire response to an increasing number of political attacks.
Obama's campaign started "Fight the Smears" after months of responding to rumors about his background and record, often spread through the internet. The website lists what it calls "smears," like "Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, and Barack Obama can't produce his birth certificate," and then rebuts those accusations one by one. For instance, there is a link to Obama's birth certificate, which he has made public.
His rival for the White House, John McCain, has been the victim of rumors, too. Although the launching of his "Truth Squad" was prompted by an attack over the weekend by a surrogate of Barack Obama. On CBS' "Face the Nation," Retired General Wesley Clark questioned McCain's military experience as a qualification for the Presidency. Barack Obama later issued a statement rejecting Clark's comments.
But McCain is sounding his own defense in the form of a "Truth Squad." His campaign says the website and "leadership squad" will quickly counter attacks on John McCain's military service and credentials in national security.
One of the first responses may involve a member of the Truth Squad. Democrats are upset over the inclusion of Retired Colonel Bud Day, an Air Force pilot and POW who was awarded the Medal of Honor. Day was in two of the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth ads that attacked Senator John Kerry during his run for the White House in 2004. In fact, Kerry is calling on McCain to end his affiliation with Day saying, "Day's comments only serve to disparage all those who served on swift boats in Vietnam."
Of course, it's because of those 2004 ads that the candidates have made this official effort to defend themselves and their records, learning that perhaps the best way to respond to any attack, is swiftly.