Nine weeks can be an eternity in the course of an intensive election campaign, but it may be little time at all when searching for a solution to effective high-tech tactics of a rival, such as the electronically savvy rumor campaign brought to bear against Barack Obama.
Now a group of Jewish pro-Obama activists has set out to use the same tactics to counter the rumor mill, which has flourished on such methods as employing social networks to spread messages.
Anti-Obama e-mails claiming to expose "the whole truth" have long been a thorn in the side of the Democratic contender's campaign staff, because they are generally forwarded by someone on the recipient's address list, in turn appearing to lend the messages greater reliability.
The pro-Obama group, called JewsVote.org, aims to operate on a number of levels to challenge the rumors, persuade undecided voters, and neutralize the effect of the "hate mail" campaign.
Democratic Party officials view seven up-for-grabs states as the key to an Obama victory, Florida, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado. JewsVote.org plans to operate in the field in six of the battleground states, the exception being Colorado.
"There was an aggressive effort to send e-mails against Barak Obama," said Mik Moore, co-executive director of the Jewish Council for Education and Research, which sponsors the activist group. "We said that we have to tap the same networks to spread the truth."
The group is targeting only swing voters, and is to provide training for 150 facilitators, Moore told Haaretz. "It's micro-targeting, it works through your personal network - the activists are just getting tools to do it effectively".
"Technically, it's pretty simple - you're uploading your list of contacts, and it becomes your elections network, because Jews who support Obama need to take responsibility. They can use phone calls to start discussion, they can send e-mails, they can use our help to place their own ads."
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