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The best move of the general election season (so far)

Obama to set up anti-disinformation SWAT team:

Barack Obama is recruiting senior staff to a new unit which will combat virulent rumor campaigns on the internet that threaten to cost him votes in the presidential election against John McCain.

The unit is part of a huge expansion of Obama’s campaign team as he shifts from the Democratic nomination race to the campaign for November’s election.

It’s become hackneyed to say this, but the underlying dynamics of the election do favor Obama. We’ll see if he begins to get a bounce in his state-by-state polling over the coming weeks. I think he very well might, and we may wind up talking about an endgame in which in order to win McCain will either have to (i) wait for a mistake; (ii) play perfect Election Night poker and sweep the swing states, or (iii) go negative.

But as McCain himself does not seem inclined to go negative, he’ll have to rely (knowingly or not) on off-label elements on the Internet. Hence, Obama’s SWAT Team (you’ll have to excuse me for being a little Giordanoesque in my prose). We do not know exactly what the SWAT Team will consist of (the Obama campaign probably does not want us to know), but a safe guess is some combination of: public relations staff, law-enforcement officers, hackers, Internet security experts (i.e. more hackers), bloggers, and lawyers.

One wonders if this is a response to the recent plagiarisms and fabrications from the well-trafficked anti-Obama site NoQuarter, which gained enough traction to provoke a question from (and a repudiation of) a McClatchy reporter. If I were a proprietor of such a site, I would be thinking about retaining an attorney.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.