New Obama Web site confronts rumors

Democrat Barack Obama's campaign said Thursday that Michelle Obama never used the word “whitey” in a speech from a church pulpit as he launched a Web site to debunk rumors about himself and his wife.

The rumor that Michelle Obama railed against “whitey” in a diatribe at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ has circulated on conservative Republican blogs for weeks. The rumor included claims of a videotape of the speech that would be used to bring down Obama's candidacy this fall.

“No such tape exists,” the campaign responds on the site, “Michelle Obama has not spoken from the pulpit at Trinity and has not used that word.”

The site is a response to the realities of a world in which information travels 24 hours a day on blogs.

In another sign of Obama's campaign moving into the general election race, the Democratic National Committee's spokeswoman said Thursday that its political and field operations are relocating to Chicago, site of his campaign.

Michelle Obama has often been the target of conservative attacks, prompting Barack Obama to demand his rivals “lay off my wife.” The Fox News Channel recently labeled her as “Obama's baby mama” and also raised the inflammatory suggestion that she gave her husband a “terrorist fist jab” when they bumped knuckles the night he clinched the nomination.

Other false claims about the Illinois senator – that he's secretly a Muslim who refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance and is intent on destroying America – spread widely during the primary campaign, and the candidate made it a habit of telling audiences to respond to e-mail rumors to set the record straight.