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:
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.