The Barack Obama campaign has published a Web site aimed at dispelling rumors about the candidate: That he is Muslim, that his wife hates whites, that he in fact arrived as a baby from the planet Zoltar and brought terror to a small Kansas town by shooting flames from his eyes, etc. That last one came from Drudge, I think, but my memory is not what it used to be. Reuters has the details. NPR here.
The site, by effectively pointing to the obvious silliness of these rumors, paints his opponents as clowns, and becomes a way for Obama go to on offense, while looking like he is on defense. Municipalist focuses on blogging in government, and as we have predicted here, public figures will increasingly head to the Web when the heat hits. The Web is an efficient, cheap, and useful means of accomplishing not only the dirty work of smearing those we oppose, but clearing those we like. Including ourselves. Also: It is interesting that the Obama campaign decided this was the best way to go, instead of relying on the blogosphere at large, and the many pro-Obama blogs out there, to do it for him.
This also points to the utility of public figures learning to blog long before the heat hits. Obviously a major presidential campaign is going to have armies of bloggers and developers ready at a moment's notice. But for the smaller fries out there, from Congress to school board, learning to blog long before you decide you need to is important, we say. Get good at this long before it becomes the last-minute means to save your desperate ass. Learn to do it now, and your career may thank you some day.
Ben Smith of Politico has good analysis.
Of course, what Obama really needs is a site that defends, explains, and dances around the stuff he is facing this week that is, in fact, all too true.
Update: Ben Smith links back.