Short & Sweet Truth About Obama?
September 4, 2008 10:35 AM   Subscribe

On behalf of my parents, where is a source that they can use to look up short and sweet responses to counter to the attacks on Obama leveled by their Republican neighbors?

My parents (who are voting Democratic this year for the first time in, well, ever) keep getting inflammatory chain letter emails that attempt to spread misinformation about Obama. They've been asking me for short and sweet ways to counter these attacks.

I've given them some "elevator speech length" talking points with sources, but I can't find a collection of these on the internet to address the rumors that they've been sent. I've had to do my own research and give them brief statement myself. There has to be something out there, yes? I'm finding the lengthy information and the sources and documents, but nothing that has been condensed.

The information we're looking for is not the Fight The Smears site. The rumors involve distortion or denial of his record.

(P.S. We are donating gas cards to college students who want to travel for the campaign. Any websites that show the major gas stations per state? Would hate to give these guys a Mobil card for a BP state.)
posted by jeanmari to Law & Government (20 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: is probably the best website for getting to the truth behind political rhetoric.

It's respected on both sides of the aisle (which means that it will call out both Obama and McCain on their distortions).
posted by BobbyVan at 10:40 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite] covers both sides with summaries, analysis and sources.
posted by hooray at 10:42 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's also this from the Obama site.
posted by ga$money at 10:42 AM on September 4, 2008

Ahh, should have previewed!
posted by hooray at 10:43 AM on September 4, 2008

Best answer: How about the book - How to Win a Fight with a Conservative?. But be forewarned I'll be sending How to Win a Fight with a Liberal to their neighbors.

Do your parents' neighbors know that your parents are voting Democrat this year? Or are they assuming that they are voting Republican (or whatever)? Maybe they don't know and are just passing on their emails to who they think are their fellow Republican pals. I'd make sure that the neighbors are well aware of where your parents stand this year.

Your parents need to reply to their emails that they do not share their views and to please remove them from any email list regarding politics.

I get emails from different people about different political issues that I don't necessarily agree with. My friends aren't trying to sway me to their side or to be mean or to smear- instead, they do not know what my position on these issues are and just assume that we share the same ideas. Perhaps the neighbors are the same way - they just assume that your parents are voting as they always have.
posted by Sassyfras at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hard to answer this without knowing the charges and denials your parents want to counter.

It's great that you are doing this for them, but I would suggest you help them learn how to create this counter-charge database themselves.

Give a parent a counter-claim, stifle the Anti-Obamacists for a day. Teach a parent to counter-claim, stifle the Anti-Omamacists for a lifetime.
posted by notyou at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2008

I'd also check out Snopes' Obama page.

You can browse gas stations on this site, but there is not a quick and easy way to see what states have which brands of gas (since there are so many retailers).
posted by mattbucher at 10:50 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The above links are good. Here's something that rebuts the attacks from Palin's speech (which was pretty much all attacks) last night, which I imagine are going to pop up a lot in the next few days. I don't know if it's short and sweet enough, but you could probably easily condense those answers.
posted by ignignokt at 10:55 AM on September 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

You could point out how many flip-flops McCain has made since he started running.

Of course, maybe he's just such a "maverick" he can't even agree with what he said.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 10:56 AM on September 4, 2008

Best answer: On the gas cards question, there's this PDF which lists counts of stations per state by brand.
posted by piro at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2008

Depends -- do they want to actually lay a smackdown on their neighbors, or just get them to stop sending the chain-email? I don't have any suggestions for the talking-points approach, but if they just want the neighbors to back off, maybe doing something that I did would get the message across without engaging them:

I had a family member who would include me on her email list for chain emails for things like "security alerts for women", "Chicken soup for the soul" type of glurge, right-wing-leaning "jokes", etc. I would just sigh and delete it all.

Then one day -- this was when I still had dialup -- it took me a full HALF HOUR to download an email from her, and it turned out to be a wildly image-heavy missive that poked fun at Hillary Clinton.

I sat down and drafted something and saved a copy -- I made it sound as much like a form letter as possible. It was an email saying that because I still had dialup, it was sometimed hard to get image-heavy emails, or emails with big attachments, so I set my email filter to automatically trash those instead of delivering them. I also set my email filter up to automatically send this response when that happened, so if you're getting this, whoever you are, email me separately and tell me what it was and we can figure out how to get it to me? Wow, thanks.

I saved that, and whenever that family member sent out one of her chain emails, I responded with that. She never followed up with a personal response about "hey, okay, this was about how Clinton was a fuckstick, how can I get it to you?" She never brought it up at all. But -- after a few weeks she finally took me off her list, and I've never gotten another such email from her since.

Yes, I am aware that such a filter may not actually exist, and that such filter may not send out a canned response like that. Thing is, SHE didn't know that, so it sounded like a perfectly plausible scenario and it got her off my back.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Okay, here are some examples and the short answers I gave them (for better or for worse):

Statement: "I won't vote for Obama because of the way he disqualified others so he could run for the state legislature!"

Answer: Actually, Alice Palmer's campaign and others disqualified themselves by submitting questionable signatures on their petitions against the party rules (signatures of people registered in a different district, people not registered at all, etc.). Obama's campaign uncovered and challenged the signatures collected by Palmer and three others, the signatures were found to be ineligible according to the guidelines their own party set forth, so the Obama campaign stood up to this shady political practice. It was a good thing.

That kind of thing. Other include:

-He was associated with the Daleys!
-He spent more money on superdelegates than Clinton did!
-He voted for killing babies when he worked in the Illinois Senate! (This one came with a really disgusting cartoon)
-He did nothing when he was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee!
-He's never worked across the aisle with Republicans!

On and on.
posted by jeanmari at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2008

Response by poster: I'm not sure that I want the emails to stop being forwarded to me. As someone who researches human behavior, I find them fascinating, if ridiculous.
posted by jeanmari at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2008

I usually respond to all political emails the same way (granted I never really get any "liberal" emails...hmmm?)
"Hey Soandso,
I'd really appreciate it if you'd not send me any political emails. I prefer to have my political conversations face to face.
Thanks, Me"
If it's someone in my family (and usually is) I will insert a nice little note about respectfully disagreeing with their positions, and not wanting to fight about it.

Of course, if your parents really want to get into the argument, and are just having trouble finding some zingers, I'd follow the links posted above. On preview... follow the links. Have fun!
posted by purpletangerine at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2008

Best answer: I like Politifact, which has separate sections for attacks and claims, for each candidate, and for chain emails.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 2:58 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

This isn't quite what you're asking for exactly, but, unless your parents really love discussing politics and would really like getting in a heated debate, it might be easier to just say (face-to-face or email) that you'd prefer to not discuss politics or receive political messages from them any longer. If I were pressed further, I would say that I have the internet, know how to research the candidates, and am capable of making my own opinions based on that information. It might be less frustrating than fact-checking every single accusation, and it may prevent any hard feelings between neighbors. Because anyone who would send you such unsolicited junk will hold grudges if they would speak up.
posted by Mael Oui at 10:16 PM on September 4, 2008

Get them a Mac. has a good learning spam filter, and a delete button...

Seriously, there's only one thing worse than the dickheads who send that kind of crap email - and that's the dickheads who are intent on arguing with them. Nobody's going to win, and everybody's going to be pissed off. It's like a little Iraq in your Inbox.
posted by Pinback at 2:00 AM on September 5, 2008

Surprisingly, Rolling Stone seems to have nice little fact sheets for both Obama and McCain.
posted by mrhaydel at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by so_necessary at 10:38 PM on October 3, 2008

McCain's not a maverick, some people named Maverick say so.

And, by the way... does anyone know how to type the 'check' character in the address of that website?

posted by baylink at 8:25 AM on October 21, 2008

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