I'm looking for a single word that would mean the opposite of smear. Specifically, I'm looking for it in the context of a verb being an action that an entity has at his disposal. So you might have a dirty snook who has "Smear 4", or the ability to lower someone's public relations rating by 4 points. If you were the victim of a "Smear 4" you would need to hire your own consultant with "Unsmear 4" to get your public relations back to where they were before the smear campaign was run against you. Clearly, "Unsmear" is not a viable term. I've reviewed a number of thesauruses, but nothing really jumps out at me. The closest I've found is either flatter or glorify, but neither convey what I'm looking for. I'm looking for something that evokes images of kissing babies, attending ice cream socials, and other typical PR boosting stuff.
The term hype is often used to play up or enhance a reputation. According to Cambridge
to make something seem more exciting or important than it is
Three additional definitions from American Heritage say
Excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion: the hype surrounding the murder trial.
Exaggerated or extravagant claims made especially in advertising or promotional material: "It is pure hype, a gigantic PR job" (Saturday Review).
An advertising or promotional ploy: "Some restaurant owners in town are cooking up a $75,000 hype to promote New York as 'Restaurant City, U.S.A.'" (New York).
This is not unsmear but a concept of promoting.
Another aspect of countering a smear would be a rebuttal. Again Cambridge
a statement which says that something is not true; She issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the company's accusations.
Most positive I can think of is polish. Smear implies covering with dirt, whitewash implies covering it up. But if there is no dirt in the first place, and there are genuine merits to be highlighted, it is time to polish them up. 'Their smear campaign has hurt us. It is time to polish up our reputation.'
To "spin" is political jargon for attempting to frame news or events in a manner favorable to yourself or your group. As in, "Stories are coming out about our candidate having numerous extra-marital affairs. We've got to spin this as 'popular with women voters'?"
But this is broader than just "undo the negative impact of a smear". It's also routinely used to refer to making an ambiguous fact look good for your side, or turning something potentially positive about an opponent into a negative.
Lionize is a wonderful word.
Oxford Dictionary of British English:
give a lot of public attention and approval to (someone); treat as a celebrity: modern sportsmen are lionized and feted.
Some uses of it together with politicians on Google:
Will Dem re-enacters recreate the Chappaquidick incident as they lionize Teddy?
Requiem for a Reprobate: Ethiopian Tyrant Should Not Be Lionized
Some other possibilities are panegyrize, commend, laud.
The opposite of a smear in P.R. is what is known as a puff piece or puffery:
Puff piece or fluff piece is an idiom for ... an article or story of exaggerating praise that often ignores or downplays opposing viewpoints or evidence to the contrary.
Have you considered exalt? From OED:
a. To raise in rank, honour, estimation, power, or wealth.
d. To praise, extol, magnify.
e. To raise to a higher class, a higher degree of value or excellence; to dignify, ennoble
f. To stimulate (powers) to higher activity.
The first answer that sprang to my mind, when thinking about the "opposite" of smears – at least, in the realm of politics – are endorsements.
Former presidents and sitting politicians often endorse the campaign of another politician (presidents and former presidents endorse those running for the Senate; senators endorse those running for mayor, and so on.) Moreover, mainstream news outlets (newspapers, magazines) will often endorse a candidate on the eve of an election, giving glowing, impassioned arguments on their opinion pages.
But you ended your question by mentioning:
I'm looking for something that evokes images of kissing babies, attending ice cream socials, and other typical PR boosting stuff.
Those are often referred to as photo ops (ops being short for opportunities).