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Obama film touts healthcare, auto bailout, Bin Laden killing

March 16, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Obama's reelection campaign is out with a 17-minute extended campaign ad that promotes his accomplishments in office.
President Obama's reelection campaign is out with a 17-minute extended… (Obama for America )

Reporting from Washington — So long, "hope"; by the looks of a new sleek campaign video, this Obama campaign has a new favorite word: "tough."

President Obama faced tough decisions, tough choices and plenty of tough luck in his term in office, and the president demonstrated toughness in return. Or so goes the narrative in a much-hyped 17-minute extended campaign ad released Thursday night by his campaign.

The video was directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks. It borrows from news clips, speeches and behind-the-scenes White House photos to zero in on the decision points the campaign likes best -- bailing out the auto industry, passing the healthcare law, killing Osama bin Laden and removing troops from Iraq.

The film investigates each for maximum drama. Talking about a briefing on the economic crisis, advisor David Axelrod says, "We might as well have been showing a horror movie." Harvard University professor and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who also chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel for the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, considers what would have happened had the president not bailed out GM and Chrysler: "What happens to jobs in America? What happens to the whole Midwest?"

“Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president,” Hanks says.

There are plenty of words not said in video, including Afghanistan, stimulus or deficit.

Former President Clinton is featured prominently, praising Obama’s action on dealing with Bin Laden and healthcare. The healthcare bill gets more time in the video than it does in Obama’s speeches these days. The issue is framed as a personal one, and used as a moment to remind viewers of the president's biography. He explains his passion on the issue over photos of his late mother.

The ad does seem very much aimed Democrats, especially the jaded ones. It opens with footage of the president's election night speech, a reminder of the elation many felt then. Its final minutes are a laundry list of oft-forgotten accomplishments that pleased the party's key interest groups.

But it returns for the happy ending -- the news of GM’s profitability.

"Let's remember how far we've come and look forward to the work still to be done,” Hanks says.

Said another way: Come on, guys. It could be worse.

kathleeen.hennessey@latimes.com


Obama film touts healthcare, auto bailout, bin Laden killing

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