Clinton and Obama 1984 Videos

This video by [in support of] the Barack Obama campaign,* a parody of the “1984” ad by Macintosh, has been all over the ‘net:

Someone supporting the Clinton campaign has finally posted this as a rebuttal:

The latter is funny, although I don’t see how it negatively impacts Obama. Then again, I don’t really “get” the first one either, so I’m probably not the target audience.

Just for kicks, here’s the original Macintosh ad:

Response video via SistaToldja.

UPDATE: Stuart Rothenberg has a plausible take on all this:

Nobody should be surprised by the overreaction to the Hillary Clinton/Apple pseudo TV spot posted on YouTube. Reporters (and political consultants) simply love anything new and creative, even if its political impact is non-existent.

Here’s a news flash: the “ad” will have no political impact. Entertaining: Absolutely. Creative? Certainly. An interesting example of modern technology? Sure. But the ad won’t change any votes, and it is unlikely to create or re-make impressions of Senators Clinton or Barack Obama.

Interestingly, more people will see the ad on or hear about it from “traditional” cable or broadcast television networks than will watch it on YouTube. So if the ad had any impact anyway, it would be because of the reach of traditional forms of media, which played the spot repeatedly.

But at the end of the day, the YouTube ad will be a footnote about the campaign. It’s yet another example of the tactical nature of this 2008 campaign, and while tactics can and do matter, the Democratic race will be decided in Iowa and New Hampshire by a relative handful of Democratic participants, not by Washington, D.C. insiders who are all aflutter with the latest hip happening.

I don’t think it’ll be decided by the first two contests, not with a treasure trove of delegates available February 5th, but otherwise that seems right.

*Note: While it ends with “,” the source of the video is unclear. According to the SF Chronicle, “Obama’s campaign says it had absolutely nothing to do with the video that attacks one of his principal Democratic rivals, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Indeed, the ad’s creator is a mystery, at least for now.”

UPDATE (3/22): It has been revealed that Phil de Vellis, an employee of a firm that is doing technical consulting for the Obama campaign, made the video. He claims to have done so without the knowledge of the Obama campaign or his employer, which has fired him.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ugh says:

    I thought the Clinton video was not done by the Obama campaign.

  2. James Joyner says:

    It says at the end of it. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, though.

  3. Eric J says:

    I think the first ad works because for Clinton’s detractors, she seems to have a cult of personality, combined with an autocratic style and nanny-state goals.

    While Obama supporters may have the same nanny-state goals, his more congenial style offers a contrast to Hillary’s “toughness.”

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    The ad’s amusing but a trifle far-fetched. Yes, Ms. Clinton is the establishment, prevailing wisdom Democratic candidate. Is Obama an insurgent, anti-establishment candidate?

  5. Triumph says:

    The ad’s amusing but a trifle far-fetched. Yes, Ms. Clinton is the establishment, prevailing wisdom Democratic candidate. Is Obama an insurgent, anti-establishment candidate?

    Let Mr. Liberal and Mrs. Liberal go at it. They are both the epitome of East Coast, Latte-sipping, Chardonay-drinking, pre-9/11, windsurfing, meterosexual, New York Times-reading, CNN-watching, Hollywood-loving elitism.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  7. laura says:

    You really need to make a correction. The ad is not from the Obama campaign. It’s history is explained in a posting on Tapped: an pseudonymous individual from Chicago cooked it up. Then My DD posted it, and it spread from there.

    I’m surprised that this site would get the story wrong on this. I thought it would be the MSM would be unable to distinguish ads people make and put on YouTube from campaign materials.

  8. I don’t have a dog in this hunt (I don’t like either candidate). Obama says the ad wasn’t from his campaign and that his campaign doesn’t have the technology to do the ad. Perhaps there is something to the questions about his lack of experience.

    I think the first one is better. The production values integrating Hillary were better. Hearing her drone on in her robot voice with the text overlays ‘fits’ the ad. The second one had didn’t mesh as well with the full color Obama (maybe Hillary has even poorer technological capabilities than Obama).

    Given the political position, the Clinton as drone ad also fits better. Shattering the inevitability of her winning is key to Obama and the ad gets that point across. The second ad is obviously reactive as opposed to innovative and is more of a school yard taunt.

    All in all, both ads lack substance on what there candidates would do that would be so great, instead they do the time honored and time worn tasks of tearing down the other guy (or gal in this case).

    The biggest issue to me is the cultural change. With youtube like delivery mechanisms, low cost and widely available technological tools (except for the Obama campaign) and an army of Davids interested in the outcome, could 2008 be the campaign where more and better ads are made by the supporters than by the candidates themselves?