(CNN) – John McCain’s campaign announced Monday it was launching a new Truth Squad to defend the presumptive Republican nominee’s military record after controversial comments by former Gen. Wes Clark, an Obama supporter, who said Sunday that the Arizona senator’s service in Vietnam did not mean that he was qualified to serve as commander-in-chief.
Leaders of the latest group include McCain’s fellow Vietnam prisoners of war Air Force Col. Bud Day and Marine Lt.Col. Orson Swindle, along with former Navy pilot Carl Smith, who served with him.
Earlier in the primary season, the campaign created a similar effort in advance of the presidential primary in South Carolina, where McCain’s 2000 White House bid was derailed by rumors spread by supporters of then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
The South Carolina group included Adjutant General Stan Spears, state Attorney General Henry McMaster, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and Seventh Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy.
Earlier this month, Barack Obama’s campaign launched an aggressive effort to respond to and discredit e-mail rumors about the presumptive Democratic nominee, including a new Web site that gives supporters the ability to upload their address books for rapid response messages and a chart that lays out alleged sources of misinformation.