While Republicans continue to wrangle over exactly who they should pick as their flagbearer against the Democratic incumbent in the White House, President Barack Obama's re-election team is arming itself against the GOP's arguments against granting him a second term.
In a move reminiscent of Team Obama's 2008's "Fight the Smears" effort, the president's re-election campaign today launched its "Truth Team" along with three independent web sites offering opposition research and talking points for the president's backers on the ground.
The "network of supporters" has its hub at Obama's re-election web portal, which contains links to three individual sites. AttackWatch.com monitors the GOP 2012 candidates' slams of the administration's record; KeepingHisWord.com offers examples of Obama's fulfilled campaign promises; and KeepingGOPHonest.com critiques Republican presidential candidates' proposals with opposition research.
In addition to offering new online and social media tools for Obama fans, today's exercise also serves as an initial run for the localized rapid-response infrastructure that will activate "validators" in swing states who can quickly respond to Republican attacks in person-to-person meetings and local media markets.
Press conferences to unveil the "truth teams" -- groups of between five and 15 state legislators and other opinion leaders -- are being held in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Teams are also being announced in Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
In Florida, for example, state Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith, as well as five state legislators, will hold a 4:30 pm press conference in Tallahassee to unveil their team. In Minnesota, it's a team of over a dozen that includes the mayor of Minneapolis, the DFL party chair, and civil-rights figure Dr. Josie Johnson. In Arizona, local leaders will also use the "Truth Team" announcement to bracket Mitt Romney's visit to the 2012 swing state -- where Team Obama is expected to open its fourth field office soon.
Those teams will be augmented by local leaders, voters, and labor and interest group voices, the campaign says. The effort is designed to deploy a multi-tiered supporter network that can counter GOP criticisms of the president from statehouses to neighborhoods.
In an email to supporters, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter called it "the grassroots communications team of the Obama 2012 campaign."
"Communicating about the president's record -- and that of our opponents -- is what I do full-time," Cutter writes. "But people don't just want to hear from campaign statements or ads -- they want to hear from the family and friends they trust."