President Obama's reelection team, looking to portray opposition to the health care law and other administration policies as part of a larger "smear" campaign, has launched a new website aimed at defending the president from criticism.
Obama for American Campaign Manager Jim Messina wrote in an email to supporters released Tuesday that he is looking for scouts to collect and report "phony attacks" on the president to a site called Attack Watch.
"Here's the deal: We all remember the birth certificate smear, the GOP's barrage of lies about the Affordable Care Act and the string of other phony attacks on President Obama that we've seen over the past few years," Messina wrote.
"There are a lot of folks on the other side who are chomping (sic) at the bit to distort the president's record. It's not a question of if the next big lie will come, just when -- and what we're prepared to do about it."
The site, a compendium of claims with rebuttals by the president's team, is a throwback to the 2008 campaign's Fight the Smears site.
AttackWatch lists a "news feed" where people can click over to find analyses from liberal groups like Media Matters and Think Progress that offer defenses of the president's position.
Among the "attack files" cited so far are those from Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry and others, who've suggested Obama is not a strong ally to Israel. Another rebuttal is aimed at criticisms by Republican congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor, who accuse the president of creating job-killing regulations
In each instance of an "attack," the site gives news articles explaining the president's side of the story.
In the email, which also solicits donations to the president's reelection campaign, Messina writes that the site is a resource that "allows us to nip these attacks in the bud before they show up on the airwaves and in emails."
The scouts will then become the first line of defense to "spread the truth" to friends.
The new campaign site also lets people vote whether they've seen the "attack," and has a Twitter feed, @AttackWatch, for people to follow for updates.