As President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign promised, on March 15, 2012 it released a 17-minute video called “The Road We’ve Traveled” that details the challenges faced by Obama’s presidency so far.
The video uses interviews with current and former administration officials, news footage, and narration by actor Tom Hanks to remind viewers the state the United States was in when Obama assumed the presidency. The video opens with Obama’s victory on election night 2008, and Hanks, in a voice over, asks, “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?”
The video quickly turns to the problems faced by the Obama Administration, starting with the economic crisis known as the “Great Recession” and the first briefing Obama received that revealed the economy was worse than originally believed. The video then details the efforts Obama undertook to prevent a total collapse of the economy.
The video features detailed interviews with White House insiders including Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, who discusses the initial meetings on the economic crisis; Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff, who describes how Obama decided which crisis to pursue first; Vice PresidentJoe Biden who provides details on Obama’s decision to tackle health care, and, in a later segment, the president’s decision to take action on Osama Bin Laden; and Elizabeth Warren, former special advisor on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who covers the auto industry bailout and what would have happened if it were allowed to fail.
Critics of the video say it contains a gross inaccuracy. Specifically, that the video says General Motors (GM) has fully repaid its federal bailout loan, but that the automaker has repaid about half of its loan—$25 billion—of the nearly $50 billion provided to GM.
Nonetheless, Jim Messina, campaign manager for “Obama for America 2012,” says the video will “put into perspective the enormous challenges that the nation faced when the president took office and the strides we’ve made together.” While campaign officials plan to show the video at events around the county, it can be viewed online.