Obama campaign film, heroic documentary or political infomercial?


By Travis Mayfield

At the time many commentators and even reporters said the dramatic killing of Osama Bin Laden played out like the script of a heroic action movie.

Now it appears that real life drama will be part of a new film, “The Road We’ve Traveled.” But that film isn’t a traditional heroic action movie, instead it is a film dubbed a documentary and created by President Obama’s campaign team.

The ‘documentary’ has come to be an important part of political campaigns in this country. Remember The Swift Boat Veteran’s film Stolen Honor in 1994 or Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911? One slammed Sen. John Kerry the other President George Bush. Both were called documentaries by their creators, yet both were intensely fact checked and dubbed politically biased.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim is the man behind “The Road We’ve Traveled” and the narration is by blockbuster movie star Tom Hanks. The campaign says the film is about the president’s first three years in office “and the tough calls he made to get our country back on track.”

Facebook and Twitter are abuzz today with the latest preview featuring the strike on Bin Laden’s compound and what was happening behind the scenes in the White House.

“The entire national security apparatus was in that room, the President turns to every principal in the room ‘what do you recommend I do?’ and they say it’s a close call Mr. President,” says Vice President Joe Biden in the preview.   “As he walked out of the room it dawned on me he is all alone. This is his decision.”

Republican Presidential rival Mitt Romney has dubbed the film a campaign infomercial. Other critics have gone farther.

“If there ever were doubts about whether he exploit [sic] it for political purposes, they've been put to rest now,” wrote Zeke Miller on Buzzfeed.

Still perhaps the biggest kudos for President Obama come from former President Bill Clinton and are contained within the preview clip itself regarding the decision to order the strike on Bin Laden.

"He took the harder and the more honorable path," said President Clinton. "When I saw what had happened, I said to myself, 'I hope that's a call I would have made.’”

The 17-minute film is set to premier this week across the country. The Obama campaign has scheduled a showing at Ballard’s Majestic Theatre at 7:00 p.m. Thursday (you’ll also be able to watch it online). 

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