Obama Sets up Internet War Room

Barack Obama sets up internet 'war room' to fight slurs

A crack team of cybernauts will form a rapid response internet "war room" to track and respond aggressively to online rumours that Barack Obama is unpatriotic and a Muslim.

As he gears up for his general election fight against John McCain, Mr Obama and his chief advisers are aware of the danger of such rumours, amid polling data showing that a significant number of Americans believe he is a Muslim or are suspicious about his background. Such doubts were a factor in his poor showing with white, blue-collar voters during his primary battle with Hillary Clinton.

In recent days Mr Obama has -- unprompted -- brought up the subject of the chain e-mails and blog sites making the false claims. Some state that he is a radical Muslim who was sworn in as a US senator on the Koran; others that he sympathises with Palestinian radicals. Many focus on his middle name of Hussein, which was taken from his Kenyan father.

Referring to the e-mails in a speech last week to AIPAC, the powerful Jewish lobby, Mr Obama said: "They are filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president and all I want to say is, 'Let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama because he sounds pretty scary'."

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