Obama’s new slogan: ‘Greater together’

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Barack Obama has an emerging slogan — “greater together” — that he’s using to spur support among younger voters worried about jobs, education and debt.

The collectivist slogan is appearing in more places, including fundraisers and in the title of the “Greater Together Student Summit Tour,” which is sending Obama’s deputies to colleges to galvanize students and youth.

On Feb. 1, Obama used the slogan to spur support among young and old African-Americans, and especially African-American women.

Less than half of younger African-American men are in the workforce, and the average wealth of African-American families was slashed by the collapse of the government-caused mortgage bubble.

Previous generations of African-Americans “made it possible for someone like me to be here today. … We are greater together than we can ever be on our own,” he said in a short video posted on his campaign website.

The slogan suggests “the collective is more powerful that individuals,” said Mike Franc, who runs The Heritage Foundation’s outreach.

But it also reminds his supporters that they’ve got to put aside their differences to win a difficult election, Franc told The Daily Caller. For Democrats, “being part of a collective includes a willingness into ignore grievances for the greater group,” he said.

“He’s trying to prepare the ground for ’80 percent is good enough, guys,’” Franc said. (RELATED: Full coverage of Barack Obama)

The “greater together” slogan joins a long list of other slogans that have drawn taunts from GOP officials, and is a candidate for a poll-tested bumper-sticker slogan that is expected to be announced in the next few months.

Obama’s bumper-sticker slogan is still absent, leaving his car-driving supporters without a solidarity-building theme.

The 2008 bumper stickers featured Obama’s name alongside a waving American flag, but the current bumper sticker touted on the campaign site replicates the Dutch red and blue flag overlaid with Obama’s name and logo.

The slogan-less bumper sticker is being freely distributed by the campaign.

“Once you put it in a visible place like the back of your car, in your window, or near your desk, things might start happening,” said an email form Jeremy Bird, Obama’s top field director. “When someone sees it, they might go to our website to find out more about what President Obama has accomplished… maybe they’ll decide to have a conversation with you [and] you’ll have a chance to persuade them to vote for President Obama.”

Obama has used the “greater together” phase since November on several occasions.

It made its first appearance when it was incorporated into the title of a “Greater Together: Youth Summit” at the University of Pennsylvania.

Obama used it in his December speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, where he urged an even greater role for a progressive-led federal government in the nation’s economic and civil lives.

“I’m here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own. … This country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules,” he said.

Since then, he used the phrase during three February fundraisers attended by wealthy Americans, including Bill Gates. “We’re greater together than we are on our own, and that when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules, that’s when America progresses,” he said.

TheDC asked Obama’s campaign about the slogan, but received only a brief response.

“The Greater Together language is not only aimed at youth and African-Americans,” said Clo Ewing, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign. In fact, “the president has used this phrase to refer to all Americans,” she said.

The slogan likely has supplanted another phrase, “stronger together” that is still highlighted on the “Young Americans for Obama” section of his campaign website.

The section highlights the phrase with a flattering quote from the leader, saying, “You’re our new generation of leaders, and we’re stronger together than we could ever be on our own. So let’s do this.”

However, Obama has not used the “stronger together” phrase in his speeches.

Obama’s current slogan — ”an America built to last” — has been used by Obama roughly ten times as much as the “great together” slogan.

It is also being boosted by complementary advertising from several government-tied companies, including General Electric and Chrysler. Both companies ran ads during the January Super Bowl, complete with morale-boosting images of Americans building impressive machines.

Unsurprisingly, the “built to last” slogan has prompting ridicule from GOP advocates.

“If you look at some of the green energy programs — Solyndra etc. — I know when they build something, it doesn’t seem to stick around long,” Sean Spicer, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, told TheDC.

If it is more widely used, “greater together” will likely prompt similar ridicule, partly because it is similar to the slogan used to advertises Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. That slogan is “Two great tastes that taste great together.”

Because “it already sounds a spin-off of [Gov.] Tom Kean’s ‘New Jersey and You – Perfect Together,’ perhaps Obama might consider ‘Depression and You: Greater Together!'” quipped Boston radio host Jay Severin.

The “built to last” slogan supplanted previous slogans, including “winning the future” and “we can’t wait.”

Any 2012 campaign slogan will have a hard time repeating the success of his 2008 slogans, which helped create and justify a wave of optimism that a half-term senator from Illinois could reform the federal government’s economic and fiscal policies.

Those 2008 slogans, “hope and change” and “yes we can,” have become incongruous amid the economic slump, growing debt, $5 trillion in borrowed stimulus funding, unemployment that ranges somewhere between 8.3 percent and 17 percent, and overlapping foreign policy crises.

Follow Neil on Twitter