June 12, 2008 / 1:52 PM / 10 years ago

Obama launches Web site to fight rumors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has launched a Web site to dispel rumors about his faith and patriotism and his wife’s views on race that have dogged his candidacy for more than a year.

The Web site, at www.fightthesmears.com, offers detailed responses to several rumors that have continued to circulate online and in conservative news outlets despite efforts to knock them down, and encourages supporters to e-mail those responses to others.

The Web site says the Illinois senator’s wife, Michelle, who like her husband is black, has never used the racially divisive term “whitey,” as some blogs and conservative commentators have said.

Michelle has never spoken publicly at either of the two venues where she is alleged to have made the remark, the site says.

The site also tackles false rumors that Obama, who will take on Republican John McCain in the November election, is Muslim.

“Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian,” the site says.

A photograph shows Obama with his hand on a Bible as he is sworn into the U.S. Senate, to counter a rumor that he used a Koran when he was sworn in.

A CNN profile of the Indonesian school he attended as a child is used to dispel a rumor that it teaches radical Islamic tenets.

The site also puts in context passages from Obama’s books that have been excerpted as supposed evidence of his racial resentments, and contains a video of him leading the Pledge of Allegiance to dispel a rumor that he refuses to do so.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by David Alexander)

To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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