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President Obama's Minnesota re-election campaign began in earnest on Monday with the unveiling of its "Truth Team," part of a nationwide initiative rolled out by the Obama for America campaign.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and a slate of local politicians and volunteers gathered at the state Capitol to kick off the campaign, ready to devote the rest of this election cycle to what they see as myth-busting.
"We are not going to allow any lie to go unanswered," said DFL Chairman Ken Martin.
Obama's campaign has launched websites with names like KeepingHis Word.com, KeepingGOPHonest.com and AttackWatch.com to counter GOP claims about the administration's record and put forward its own version of events.
"We're not going to take any baloney," said Rybak, adding that the websites and volunteer "truth teams" are necessary to offset "millions of dollars in slimy ads" from Republican contenders for the White House.
The plan is to get at least 2 million volunteers mobilized nationwide, talking, tweeting and posting online. It echoes a similar drive during the 2008 campaign, known then as "Fight the Smears."
The Republican National Committee (RNC) dismissed the rebooted initiative as propaganda.
"The Obama campaign is organizing propaganda teams to deceive voters because Americans are catching onto the reality that Obama's record doesn't match his rhetoric," RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney said in a statement Monday.
"How else will they mask the broken promises like introducing another trillion-dollar deficit or the fact that the president continues to recycle the same proposals without ever seeing results?"
Grass-roots activist Josie Johnson said she's volunteering for the Obama campaign because "I am so disappointed that the truth does not get out."
"You have to understand the basis for these anti-Obama attacks," she said. "I've never seen anything like it in my life. The things that were said that were untrue, and these things were said over and over. ... Unless we correct people, they won't know what is the truth."
Jennifer Brooks • 651-925-5049