Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Obama the Orator Invokes "Dream"

Barack Obama

The ad:Obama: We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it's slowly slipping away. And that is why the same old Washington textbook campaigns just won't do. That's why telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won't do. America, our moment is now. I don't want to spend the next year, or the next four years, refighting the same fights we had in the 1990s. I don't want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be president of the United States of America.

Analysis: This 60-second Iowa spot, drawn from a stirring speech the Illinois senator gave at a Democratic Party dinner in Des Moines, captures the strengths of his candidacy. With his strong voice, shots of rapt audience members and swelling music, Obama reprises the unity theme that helped launch him at the party's 2004 convention.

Embedded in the ad, as in a John Edwards commercial this week, are coded criticisms of Hillary Clinton. The "same old Washington textbook campaigns" and telling Americans "what we think they want to hear" echo his refrain that she represents the poll-tested politics of the past. "Refighting" the battles of the 1990s is a euphemism for the controversies that surrounded the Clinton White House and the notion of the former first lady as a polarizing figure.

The ad uses on-screen quotes from favorable stories--such as "scrupulous honesty" (Time columnist Joe Klein) and "Across the Divide" (a Newsweek headline)--as a way of having the media appear to validate his message. By avoiding specific facts, Obama is betting that his loftier theme of bringing the country together will resonate more than any policy proposal.

--Howard Kurtz

By Washington Post editors  |  December 6, 2007; 5:50 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Ad Watch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: How Romney Played Among (a Few of) the Iowa Faithful
Next: Giuliani's Network Support


As an American who has watched with dismay the steady deterioration in our constitutional rights and the pandering to the extreme right wing nuts by the present administration, I am looking for real change, one that focuses on the common man who built this country and not the evil corporations who have no interest in the welfare of ordinary citizens. I am not interested in watching politics as usual and certainly do not want to watch a replay of not only the Bush years, but also the Clinton years with its own stack of scandals and shortage of ethics. I want in a President qualities of empathy, understanding, firmness and a commitment to turn this great nation into an oasis of peace, harmony and justice. The only one with any vision in the race is Obama. He may not be as experienced as some of the others, but look, did Cheney lack experience? What we really need is one with sound judgment who can surround himself or herself with competent advisers and be really able to rise above the narrow partisan divide. If Hillary is the democratic nominee, I may sit out the next election. John McCain is much better to Hillary because at least he is principled, even though I do not agree with many of his positions. The way Hillary is attacking Obama for his kindergarten essay! Come on, it is not only downright silly, but really mean. Hillary, I was going keep you as my second choice, but you lost it with your nastiness.

Posted by: gsaibala | December 7, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Same old same old. Yawn.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

To yiannis,

Very well stated. I couldn't agree with you more. Perhaps, PMorlan1 should rethink their position. A vote for Obama is a vote for change...

Posted by: bob_roy_1 | December 7, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse


I agree that Edwards domestic positions are more mainstream in the progressive movement. Regardless I support Obama. Hear me out:

The president's job isn't to craft extremely detailed laws. Obama has shown that he understands domestic, and unlike Edwards foreign, policy in enough depth to satisfy me.

The president's job is to craft a direction on a number of issues and to exercise his judgment to solve unforeseeable problems.

If you trust Edwards's judgment then please explain to us why he was one of the most conservative democratic senators:

Why did he become W's poster boy for the Iraq war?

Why did he vote for nuclear waste at the Yucca mountain?

Why did he vote for free trade with China?

Why did he support drilling in Alaska?

He now says all these positions have changed. Fine. But what do his decisions then tell you about his judgment on progressive issues?

The president need not necessarily conform to every position we have, but he has the judgment to lead the US at home and abroad.

Which brings me to the point of Edwards's lack of understanding of foreign affairs. While his focus against poverty and against the lobbyists are admirable his focus is too narrow.

Edwards should become the secretary for poverty (and I don't say that in a demeaning way) not the president of the US. What I'm seeing from Edwards is an adaption of liberal policies he opposed 4 years ago.

His adaption of every point of liberalism and his consistent fight against lobbyists and poverty are his strong points.

But he lacks the underlying trait that unifies one's character to a compelling candidate. He lacks judgment.

Posted by: yiannis | December 6, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Good commercial. It takes the one thing I like about Obama (his oratory skills) and uses them to his advantage. But his policies are not as progressive as I would like which is why I can not support him.

I've watched Edwards consistently introduce progressive policies in this election and then Obama & Hillary follow by introducing theirs. I think for Edwards the policies are more important than the positioning. His main campaign theme to take back America from the moneyed interests in Washington is something that I think we must do or we will not be able to change anything and I think most voters would agree.

I also agree with Jesse Jackson & Harry Belefonte that John Edwards is the one candidate in this race that has consistently introduced policies that address the issue of poverty. I think poverty in this country must be addressed for the good of all of us.

I know the the glitz and glamor is not with Edwards but maybe that's a good thing because sometimes the glare of the media lights makes it hard to see the true underpinnings of a candidacy. Edwards has had to garner support the old fashioned way by actually focusing on issues, connecting with voters on issues that effect their lives and just plain outworking the other candidates. He's evidently doing a great job in Iowa because he is in a three-way tie for first despite being outspent 200 to 1 and having less media coverage.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | December 6, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I have heard the same rhetorical expression for the lasy 50 years. Elect me president of our country and I will change the way "Washington operates." The people of the United States believed them. They were elected and left office without a single change.

Unless Obama tells us, how he intends to change the way "Washinton works," one can not believe him. Electors, be aware: "used car salesmen are not responsible for cars once they leave the parking lot."

Posted by: vivaldo_latoche | December 6, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where assaulting, torturing and murdering people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan and Nazi Party.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you:

Posted by: avraamjack | December 6, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

44th president of the united states BARACK OBAMA!! "our time is now"

Posted by: dreid885 | December 6, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

For the first time in a long time we have an opportunity to elect someone great as president. Obama '08.

Posted by: milldude | December 6, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that every single speech Obama delivers makes me choke up, just a tiny bit?

For the first time in decades, someone can make me genuinely proud to be an American.

Obama/Biden '08.

Posted by: thecrisis | December 6, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Outstanding! Kennedy/Lincoln-esk. This man will make a superb president!

Posted by: zb95 | December 6, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

When doing an ad to promote your candidacy, I don't think you'd use quotes saying negative things, Howard. lol
but, the ad is very good.

Posted by: vwcat | December 6, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Very effective ad. Bravo!

Posted by: gobanana910 | December 6, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Michael_Corones | December 6, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Because, as we know, name-dropping Joe Klein is going to assure him an outpouring of support.

Obama is able to avoid "specific facts" because the MSM is unwilling and unable to point out all the huge, glaring gaps in his policy proposals.

Maybe as a first tiny baby step towards doing their jobs they could get him to sign on to the statement in the update section of the description of this:

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | December 6, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company