The Obama campaign Launched the Pennsylvania Truth Team today in Philadephia, promising to fight off false accusations waged by Republican presidential challengers. The team plans to stave of the attacks by posting online videos and information about the president’s record and fact-checks on GOP claims.
In a conference call with reporters today, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said their aim is to stave off political attacks such as one this week when former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said that the Obama-backed bailout harmed the auto industry more than it helped.
“That’s just a lie,” Mr. Nutter said on today’s conference call. “You know that’s not true.”
Mr. Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will “say anything – do anything – including being untruthful or way out of bounds and over the top,” he said. “They’ll do anything to win.”
Mr. Fitzgerald said the truth squad will fill an important gap in the political conversation. Republicans, he said, have had a series of debates to clear the record, but the president hasn’t had that chance yet.
He said the Truth Team’s online repository of videos and facts aims to arm Democrats with the facts they need to spread the word and the tools to do it, too. It includes links to social media tools and letter-writing help, organizers said.
While Mr. Nutter characterized the Pennsylvania Truth Team as a grassroots push, the effort is being coordinated by the campaign, which launched similar teams nationwide today at press conferences led by prominent local officials in other states. In Pennsylvania, team members include Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Philadelphia Democratic State Rep. Babette Josephs.
Mr. Nutter and Mr. Fitzgerald assured that there are many ordinary Pennsylvanians involved in the effort, too.
“Believe me, there are hundreds and hundreds of Philadephians – real people, real voters and elected officials – who want to make sure that the president’s record is propertly explained, that he gets proper credit and that these distortions will stop,” Mr. Nutter said.
While the group’s task is to defend against false accusations, Mr. Nutter was quick to go on the offensive when it came to Mr. Santorum. “Should he somehow be [Republicans’] nominee, we will certainly remind Pennsylvanians why they ran him out of office the last time his name was on the ballot,” he said, referring to Mr. Santorum’s loss to Democrat Bob Casey in the 2008 Senate race.
The truth squad's online offerings will be spread across four web sites: BarackObama.com/TruthTeam, KeepingHisWord.com, KeepingGOPHonest.com and AttackWatch.com.