Obama Loves America — No, Really!

Barack Obama’s latest ad spot has him explaining that, no, really, he’s an American. And, despite what you might have heard, he likes it here. And he’s not a Muslim, either.

Here’s the video:

The transcript:

I’m Barack Obama. America is a country of strong families and strong values. My life’s been blessed by both.

I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn’t have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. Accountability and self-reliance. Love of country. Working hard without making excuses. Treating your neighbor as you’d like to be treated. It’s what guided me as I worked my way up — taking jobs and loans to make it through college.

It’s what led me to pass up Wall Street jobs and go to Chicago instead, helping neighborhoods devastated when steel plants closed. That’s why I passed laws moving people from welfare to work, cut taxes for working families and extended health care for wounded troops who’d been neglected.

I approved this message because I’ll never forget those values, and if I have the honor of taking the oath of office as President, it will be with a deep and abiding faith in the country I love.”

Matt Yglesias summarizes it: “My Mom’s White! And I’m From America!”

Steve Benen admits, “subtle it isn’t,” but thinks the spot does what it needs to.

Chris Cilliza concludes, “It’s clear from this ad that the Obama campaign recognizes that it must educate voters about his background in order to counter the slew of negative information being moved via whisper campaigns and email chains already in this race.”

Honestly, I’m not sure that anyone who believes that nonsense is likely to be dissuaded by a TV commercial.

The essential themes of the spot are both self-evident and worth emphasizing by the campaign: Obama faced adversity, worked hard to improve himself, and has devoted his adult life to public service. He’s living the American dream and carrying out the “family values” that Republicans like to use in their campaign ads.

On the other hand, the bit about “values straight from the Kansas heartland” and allusions to childhood poverty are a bit much. He grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. His parents met in college and his birth father went on to get a PhD from Harvard. He went to a prestigious prep school before coming to the Continental U.S., attending Occidental College, and then going on to Columbia and Harvard Law, mostly on academic scholarships. And, goodness, just about everyone attending law school takes out some loans.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, General, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    I think it is a mistake when a politician tries to parse his language when “introducing” himself. As people find out more about the politician, they are likely to say “that doesn’t match what he said earlier”.

    To put it another way, if you think you need to mislead (without directly lying) the people, why do you think it will be better for you later when they see through the misleading. Would it be better to just skip the misleading statements. Or is there a really big hole that Obama feels compelled to fill?

  2. Bithead says:

    And he’s not a Muslim, either

    Makes you mindful of Flipper’s cry:

    ” But I’m NOT a tuna!!”

  3. Davebo says:

    On the other hand, the bit about “values straight from the Kansas heartland” and allusions to childhood poverty are a bit much.

    So attending schools on academic scholarships is a sign of great wealth?

    Of course, if I supported the candidate who gained entrance to the USNA based on bad grades and Dad and Granddaddy’s connections, then finished near the bottom of his class, I’d be worried a bit to concerning education.

  4. James Joyner says:

    I’d be worried a bit to concerning education.

    Subject for another post but the short answer is I don’t give a crap about their schoolboy exploits at this stage of their careers.

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Davebo, do you have difficulty following topics? B. Hussein’s father was still legally married when he married Obama’s mother. Under Muslim law that is OK, however offspring are also considered Muslim. So, Obama is either an illegitimate bastard or a Muslim. Since he, no doubt, recited the first four verses of the Koran while in madrassa in Indonesia, he could be both. The possibilities are intriguing.

  6. sam says:

    The possibilities are intriguing.

    Only if you’re a nitwit.

  7. Michael says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure that anyone who believes that nonsense is likely to be dissuaded by a TV commercial.

    Maybe not, but it will stop most of them from talking about it to people who might be influenced by it.

  8. Michael says:

    Only if you’re a nitwit.

    I assure you, he is.

  9. anjin-san says:

    I don’t give a crap about their schoolboy exploits at this stage of their careers.

    Why then should me care about McCain’s war exploits?
    His life experience as a young man is valid and Obama’s is somehow not?

    GHW Bush was a war hero and a mediocre president. Reagan never saw combat, and he was a hell of a president. George McGovern was a war hero and the right still reviles him.

    Guess McCain’s military experience is not relevant to the race…

  10. od says:

    Davebo, do you have difficulty following topics? B. Hussein’s father was still legally married when he married Obama’s mother. Under Muslim law that is OK, however offspring are also considered Muslim. So, Obama is either an illegitimate bastard or a Muslim. Since he, no doubt, recited the first four verses of the Koran while in madrassa in Indonesia, he could be both. The possibilities are intriguing.

    Presumably what’s interesting is if he considers himself a Muslim (ie practices it and holds to its beliefs), rather than if some foreign law considers him a Muslim. I suspect under Muslim law McCain would be a criminal, but that doesn’t mean he’s considered a criminal in the US.

  11. James Joyner says:

    His life experience as a young man is valid and Obama’s is somehow not?

    I’ve written many times that McCain, as Kerry before him, is relying far too much on his Vietnam experience. I do think a position of leadership under the stress of combat is more indicative of executive skill than doing well in a classroom environment, though.

  12. dutchmarbel says:

    I do think a position of leadership under the stress of combat is more indicative of executive skill than doing well in a classroom environment, though.

    You’ve seen Wes Clark on McCain though? How much leadership did McCain provide?

  13. That’s great and all, the way he grew up, overcame adversity. But, of course, that was the past. Last time I checked, Stalin faced quite a bit of childhood adversity, too. (And, yes, I know, a bit over the top.)

    PS: haven’t seen the commercial in North Carolina yet, despite my state supposedly being targeted.

  14. Bithead says:

    Stalin faced quite a bit of childhood adversity, too. (And, yes, I know, a bit over the top.)

    Given the similarity of policy in so many areas, perhaps it’s not so over the top, after all.

  15. Michael says:

    Given the similarity of policy in so many areas, perhaps it’s not so over the top, after all.

    If we’re going to try and compare Obama to a Communist leader (which we shouldn’t, since they really are very different), I would think Trotsky would be a better fit than Stalin.

  16. Gina says:

    What’s most disturbing is how Obama is above reproach. It’s become almost blasphemy to criticize him in anyway. Kudos to John Stewart for pointing this out in his comedy routine, but he’ll probably catch flack for that, just like the rest of us. It’s as if Obama has been packaged and sold to us as some kind of diety, when he’s nothing more than a junior senator, with a thin resume, who voted present a hundred times at his job.