The Obama 2012 campaign didn't even have to pay CNN for helping get its re-election message out on Thursday's The Situation Room. CNN aired two uninterrupted minutes of a trailer for a 17-minute Obama campaign film to be released in the future.
And after the two-minute clip played, CNN saved the Republican criticism for last. Host Wolf Blitzer's first question after the video had to do with the trailer's opening line delivered by actor Tom Hanks.
"It has the look and feel of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it's really an Obama campaign film," mused Blitzer. The film, while marketed as a "documentary," is directed by David Guggenheim who was also behind "An Inconvenient Truth," and is meant to show the accomplishments of President Obama from his first term.
"Brianna, what jumps out at me in this trailer is the opening line by Tom Hanks, do we look at the day's headlines or do we remember what we as a country have been through? Is the campaign really worried that all the day-to-day headlines are really going to drag down the prospects of the President getting himself re-elected?" Blitzer asked CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar.
Finally at the end of the segment CNN aired the Republican criticism. "A spokeswoman for the RNC saying voters don't need a movie trailer or a documentary to learn about the President's records, blaming him for unemployment – the unemployment rate, the national debt and for high gas prices," reported Keilar.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 8 on The Situation Room at 4:28 p.m. EST, is as follows:
WOLF BLITZER: We're also right now getting a first look at the trailer of an upcoming Obama campaign film. It's called "The Road We've Traveled." It's a 17-minute look at the President's first-term accomplishments.
TOM HANKS, narrator: How do we understand this President and his time in office? Do we look at the day's headlines? Or do we remember what we, as a country, have been through?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, chairman, White House Counsel of Economic Advisors: The president-elect is here in Chicago and he's named the members of the economic team. And they all fly in for the first big briefing on the economy.
DAVID AXELROD, chief campaign strategist, Obama 2012 campaign: What was described in that meeting was an economic crisis beyond anything anybody had imagined.
BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed.
HANKS: His advisers would ask where to begin, which urgent need would he put first.
Mayor RAHM EMANUEL, Chicago: Which is one, which is two, which is three, which is four, which is five? Where do you start?
JOE BIDEN, Vice President of the United States: If we don't do this now, there'll be a generation before 30 million people have health insurance.
ELIZABETH WARREN, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Massachusetts: If the auto industry goes down, what happens to America's manufacturing base? What happens to jobs in America? What happens to the whole Midwest?
BIDEN: Entire national security apparatus was in that room. And now, we had to make a decision, go or not go.
As he walked out of the room, it dawned on me, he's all alone. This is his decision. Nobody is standing there with him.
(End Video Clip)
BLITZER: Brianna, what jumps out at me in this trailer is the opening line by Tom Hanks, do we look at the day's headlines or do we remember what we as a country have been through? Is the campaign really worried that all the day-to-day headlines are really going to drag down the prospects of the President getting himself re-elected?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN White House correspondent: I think, Wolf, if the campaign had its way that would not be the metric by which they would want voters to judge President Obama. Instead you see them here really trying to create enthusiasm and excitement, and really kind of a mood, by evoking some of these iconic and historic moments that have happened in the Obama presidency, especially as polls show the campaign is really facing an enthusiasm gap compared to what they had in 2008. And I asked White House press secretary Jay Carney today about this strategy of perhaps avoiding headlines. And he laughed off the suggestion.
KEILAR: So Jay Carney joking there about the approach, Wolf, but some Republicans certainly aren't. A spokeswoman for the RNC saying voters don't need a movie trailer or a documentary to learn about the President's records, blaming him for unemployment – the unemployment rate, the national debt and for high gas prices – Wolf.