Citizens United highlights the disenchanted Obama voter

Caroline May | Reporter

Highlighting the personal anecdotes of Democrats and Independents who voted for and subsequently soured on President Barack Obama, a new anti-Obama film is set to embolden Republican National Convention attendees, and perhaps raise some eyebrows at the Democratic National Convention.

The film, “The Hope And The Change,” is the handiwork of the conservative Citizen’s United Productions, whose 2010 case before the Supreme Court over its 2008 campaign film about Hillary Clinton lead to a rejiggering of campaign finance laws and gave rise to the era of super PACs.

This time the production group takes on Obama, hitting the president where it hurts: with his former supporters.

Showcasing the viewpoints of a diverse swath of real, battleground-state Democrats and Independents, selected from focus groups convened by Democratic pollster Pat Caddell and College of Charleston political science professor Kendra Stewart, the film details the evolution of the disenchanted Obama voter from the hope and tingles of election night to the disappointment and frustration of today.

Watch the trailer:

“It’s almost kind of a somber film, it does have anger in it. They do like the guy, it’s not about that, it’s the sense of disappointment and that is why I made the front film the way I did — every person I interviewed would talk about the amazing feeling they had when they supported him and he came [into office]. They were very proud to vote for him and incredibly proud of the country the night he was elected,” the film’s director, conservative filmmaker Steve Bannon, told The Daily Caller. He said that the year-long project highlights how the 2008 election night jubilation has largely evaporated.

Every voice in the film is a 2008 Obama voter. There is not a single Republican, tea partier, libertarian or professional talking-head among the interviewees, Bannon said.

“We were able to check their registration, their voting records, it was a very thorough process of getting [the film subjects],” said Bannon.

Bannon stressed that all the comments and reactions were unscripted.

With haunting music and the hour-long film begins with the Obama voters explaining their jubilation and hopes for the future when Obama was elected:

  • “I couldn’t help but cry.”
  • “I felt we needed a change.”
  • “I felt the energy and belief that we will do even better.”
  • “The change was going to be better jobs better income.”
  • “I was thinking this was it, we were going to have a better life”

The film walks through the big issues the Obama administration has attempted to tackle, from the auto bailout to the stimulus, Obama’s foreign policy to the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s celebrity reputation to the economy and rising gasoline prices. The film also touches on some aspects of the racial division that the filmmakers argue has been partially inflamed by the White House.

Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy notes that the subjects in the film also mistakenly associate TARP and Citigroup bailout with Obama, which actually happened under former President George W. Bush.

Cadell explained to Conroy that the inaccurate chronology was a byproduct of the film’s focus, namely what the film’s subjects actually believe, “in people’s minds, it’s mixed.”

“It’s a neatness problem, but we’re not having a seminar,” Cadell added to Conroy. “This is how they sense it and also the way they express it.”

The forty, mostly-female subjects describe their progress from the hope they felt election night to their growing concerns about the country’s direction, before reaching a stage of absolute disappointment in the man they had hoped would fix the country.

  • “It’s almost like buyer’s remorse” says one subject. Others pile on:
  • “I am not voting for Barack Obama this much I know.”
  • “I expected a lot more.”
  • “I made a mistake.”

“I think the legacy of Barack Obama is going to be he made a lot of promises, got into office,” says one interviewee, “and couldn’t fulfill them.”

The film concludes with the final question posed by another interviewee, “Can we go through another 4 years of this?”

“I think it is quite powerful in that you see that the American people, men and women working in this country are ahead of the political class and way ahead of the media in understanding that the country is in a crisis,” Bannon said. “In Washington it is talked about, in America it is lived. And this crisis is an existential crisis of the middle class and you can hear the fear and the angst.”

Citizens United president David Bossie told TheDC the film will be screened at the RNC in Tampa and the DNC in Charlotte. The group will then roll out the film to limited theaters largely focused on the battleground states from which they pulled their interview subjects. They are also in the progress of working on potential TV releases. Fox News host Sean Hannity will have an hour-long special on the film Friday, according to Big Hollywood.

“We want to reach all Americans but clearly the film is a film of Democrats and Independents and we feel it speaks to Democrats and Independents,” Bossie said. “We will be marketing it with that in mind. We hope that this film is the beginning of a conversation — that people watching this film will relate to the cast members and be able to say ‘that’s me.’”

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