Crush on Obama Video

Somebody calling herself “Obama Girl” is generating quite a buzz with her “Crush on Obama” video.

This immediately brought to mind the so-called racist ads run against Harold Ford in the closing days of the 2006 campaign. So far, though, most of the reaction I’ve seen has expressed either bemusement or admiration.

Obama Girl is keeping track of the press coverage on “her” blog and reports that someone has started a Facebook group for her.

Taegan Goddard (Political Wire): “the song and video took the Obama campaign by surprise and further demonstrated how the democratic nature of the Internet specifically Internet video on sites such as YouTube is affecting politics in unpredictable ways.”

PJM in Barcelona (PajamasMedia): “Move Over Monica, It’s Obama Girl.”

William Beutler (Blog PI): “It’s grade-A YouTube cheesecake for sure, but also helps that the R&B parody lyrics effectively deploy its political references, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they also have that so-bad-it’s-good quality.”

David All (TechPrez): “Totally. Undeniably. Awesome.”

AllahPundit (Hot Air): “It’s obviously a goof; the question is whether it’s a goof from the left or the right.”

Tom Elia (The New Editor): “This is a pretty funny video … and it’s also an apt illustration of a lot of the hype surrounding Sen. Barack Obama.”

SeeDubya (JunkYardBlog) sees similarities between the video and news reporting on Obama.

Kate Phillips of the NYT is a little more skeptical, noting the sexual innuendo, calls it “steamy” and notes that it’s no surprise that it’s going viral: “if you watch the video, you’ll understand. It not only has her doing pole-dancing on the subway (clothed, mind you), but mashing up her bikini-clad bod next to those pix of Senator Barack Obama shirtless in his trunks from his Hawaii vacation last year.”

ABC’s Jack Tapper has already uncovered some details.

The song was performed by Leah Kauffman, a 21-year-old undergraduate at Temple University in Philadelphia, who wrote the lyrics with a friend, 32-year-old advertising executive Ben Relles, and the music with her producer, Rick Friedrich. An actress/model named Amber Lee Ettinger then lip-synched the song for the video, shot by filmmakers found on Craigslist two hours before Relles and Ettinger hit New York City one Friday in May to shoot the video on a DV camera.

“Not including the hours we spent working on it, it probably cost a couple thousand dollars,” said Relles, a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, who said he did it for fun, not money, but is also selling “Obamagirl” and “I Got a Crush on Obama” T-shirts.

Relles said the idea for “I Got a Crush on Obama” came after he and Kauffman received some media notice for a previous collaboration that was a female take on a recent “Saturday Night Live” spoof of boy bands. [See SNL “Special Christmas Box” video at GHW. -ed.] Both fans of Obama, the two thought it would be amusing to capture, in song, their affection for the candidate at the same time the Clinton camp is holding a campaign song contest on her campaign Web site.

“We were just trying to come up with something funny,” said Kauffman, a journalism major, who said the music was influenced by the best of Top 40. “As long as there’s a venue for it, we’ll probably keep doing it.”

I have no doubt that an appetite for this kind of thing will remain.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor 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. Donna says:

    There are similarities between this and the Ford ads, both of which have a breathless woman making a phone call, but this one has the dancer making overt sexual moves on a married man. Anyone wonder that this video is an insult to Obama’s family, let alone an insult to marriage?

  2. Dan says:

    “Obama Girl’s” website:

    I thought it was kinda funny – just like I thought the Harold Ford ad was pretty funny.

  3. Bithead says:

    The question that hasn’t been answered yet, is “boxers or briefs?”

  4. ken says:

    The video is amusing. The production quality of the music is good. The lyrics are catchy, funny, and easily sing-along-able. And it is spreading like wildfire.

    It is not good news for the Republican party that things like this are frequently happening on the Internet. Videos like this confirm in peoples minds that it is cool to be liberal. It is cool because authentically cool people are liberal.

    And conservative attempts to mimic such original expressions of the ordinary persons political and cultural sensibilities always comes across as contrived and phony.

    I think we are still in the early stages of this phenomenon but I do not see it stopping any time soon. The Internet is just too democratic for gate keeping to succeed. And without gate-keeping the Internet cannot be dominated by the right wing wackoes in the same manner they dominate TV and talk radio.

    The internet, as a medium for information and entertainment, is one reason more people identify as democrats than as republicans today. Without it we would still have the MSM doing puff pieces on Republicans and hit pieces on Democrats. Instead, thanks to the internet, we have more reality based reporting seeping through. And that is a good thing.

  5. James Joyner says:

    conservative attempts to mimic such original expressions of the ordinary persons political and cultural sensibilities always comes across as contrived and phony.

    All the big viral videos, including this one, were done by professionals.

  6. Jeffrey Imm says:

    This sexist video is irresponsible and degrading to women, and treats them like non-individuals without intelligence who can only gauge a presidential candidate based on their “sex appeal”. It is an insult and a disgrace to American women anywhere, and is a throwback to the pre-1950s. Shame on you. Clearly you have NO respect for women or for the importance of an issue like selecting a national leader for our nation. What a disgrace. An even greater disgrace is that candidate Barack Obama has not condemned this as the sexist embarrassment that it is. A sad day in women’s rights in America.

    Moreover, it is also an embarrassing insult to Mr. Obama’s wife, who apparently NO ONE cares to show any respect towards at all, including Mr. Obama. Married men: Can you imagine if someone showed this type of insult towards YOUR wife? Would you sit there and be SILENT about it? I don’t think so. I’m sorry, this sexist disgrace unfortunately says a lot about presidential candidate Barack Obama by his silence, and none of it is good. Shame, shame, shame – to the people who created this disgrace, to the cowardly mainstream media, and of course, Mr. Obama for allowing this insult to your wife and to American women everywhere to go without your response.

    I hope I am wrong Mr. Obama, and you will condemn this disgrace in the coming days. At a minimum, to show respect to your wife.

  7. ken says:

    I hope I am wrong Mr. Obama, and you will condemn this disgrace in the coming days. At a minimum, to show respect to your wife.

    I think they will be dancing to this tune at many an inaugural ball come January 2009. That will be respect enough.

    In the mean time this has been downloaded to many many i-pods already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear it on top 40 radio stations before long.

  8. brian says:

    She should have used a disclaimer that there is no affair because after all Obama is married. That does matter still to some folks. She obviously wants publicity. That stupid immature laugh at the end show how childish and shallow these people are.