Obama makes election pitch with Hollywood-style film

Posted at 03/09/12 7:37 AM

CHICAGO - U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign is putting a cinematic finish on its re-election pitch with a new documentary about the Democratic president's first three years in the White House.

The campaign released a trailer of the 17-minute film, "Road We've Traveled," on Thursday that featured dramatic music, cinematic-style video, and interviews with top Obama advisers.

Obama, whose ties to Hollywood have helped him raise funds, tapped Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim to direct the film and Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks to provide narration.

Guggenheim's 2006 documentary about former Vice President Al Gore's fight against climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Academy Award for best documentary feature.

The new Obama film will have its premiere at Obama campaign offices across the country on March 15.

"The film is an opportunity to put into perspective the challenges the country faced when President Obama took office, the tough decisions he made in the face of those challenges and the progress we've made in rebuilding an economy that's meant to last and strengthening and securing our nation," the campaign said in a statement.

Obama's campaign has sought to highlight the president's accomplishments in the face of attacks from Republican rivals and an improving but still rough economy. Obama will face the Republican nominee in the Nov. 6 election.

The documentary includes appearances by Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama, former White House adviser David Axelrod, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the president's first White House chief of staff.

In one of the more dramatic moments shown in the trailer, Biden describes Obama's decision to send U.S. forces into the compound that housed Osama bin Laden. The al Qaeda leader was killed in the raid.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said, "The American people don't need a movie trailer or a 17-minute documentary to know what the president accomplished over the past three years."

"Unfortunately Americans feel Obama's accomplishments each and every day after President Obama led our country to higher unemployment, record debt, and higher gas prices," she said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, when asked if Obama's message needed Hollywood's help, demurred.

"Are you suggesting that I'm no Tom Hanks?" he quipped, to laughter from reporters.

"We ... take advantage of every opportunity we can to explain the president's policies, explain his positions, describe his vision for the country moving forward."

Obama has used the documentary format to make his case before. In 2008, the campaign ran a 30-minute advertisement in October, not long before his November election win.