Barack Obama's campaign team has set up its own website to fight the Internet rumours which have been swirling around the Senator in recent weeks.
Rumours about candidates are hardly new and the Internet is usually the medium with which they are promoted. For example, it was a website which broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal and in 2004 accusations about John Kerry's Vietnam war experience were circulated effectively across the Web.
But I think the Obama campaign's decision to set up an instant rapid rebuttal Internet unit - www.fightthesmears.com - marks the first time in an election that this has been used.
Although, it is probably going to generate some attention because it repeats what the rumours are, I think it shows the seriousness with which modern politicians are treating the Internet as a communications tool. It also makes sense to rebut accusations as soon as they materialise in order to stop them growing and feeding the more traditional print media. The Obama campaign was obviously worried they may have an effect further down the line too. However, it also proves how innovative the Obama campaign continues to be.
Incidentally, it was Andrew Jackson who first set up an instant rapid rebuttal unit in the General Election of 1828 to counter accusations by his opponents of bigamy and murder! Thank goodness, the rumours about Obama are not quite as bad as that.