In an earlier story I published here at NowPublic entitled, "Floyd G. Brown: "Obama Supporters Threaten the Opposition", Brown alleges Obama supporters are threatening the opposition, including his wife and family, via telephone calls and emails. Brown's allegations are not the only ones circulating the internet, and Senator Obama's Campaign is fighting back.
One of the presidential campaign's most pitched battles is already blazing away. But the action won't be coming to you live from Denver or St. Paul in the next two weeks, pollsters can barely track it and -- most important -- there aren't any rules.
For months, anonymous e-mail chain letters, blog posts and message board items attacking Barack Obama have been flying around the country. Obama's campaign is concerned enough about the rumor mill to devote an entire Web site to fighting them. While some of the messages are blatantly false, the most dangerous ones mix lies and out-of-context facts just well enough to sound legit, playing not too subtly on racism and ignorance to make the truths they include sound sinister. (Now a book that basically collects some of the bogus accusations by Jerome Corsi is sitting at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.)
Two such messages, circulating by e-mail and popping up in comments on blogs for months, are reproduced below -- and annotated and debunked, point by point -- to illustrate the tactics Obama's been up against for most of the campaign. The first e-mail attacks the candidate's wife, attempting to paint Michelle Obama –- and by extension, Barack Obama -- as an America-hating black separatist radical. Democratic pollsters say many voters don't know much about Michelle Obama. This e-mail, which began circulating during the Democratic primaries, seems to be a deliberate attempt to fill in a mostly blank mental canvas with negative associations before the Obama campaign can tell her story itself.