Film spotlights voters who have turned on Obama
(CBS News) A provocative new film spotlighting Democrats and independents who say they voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but have since turned on the president is set to debut at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.
Titled "The Hope and the Change," the anti-Obama film was jointly financed by Citizens United and Victory Film Group -- the production company helmed by conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon.
This is the first presidential election in which Citizens United was able to produce a film about a candidate after the conservative advocacy group's lawsuit to air a 2008 campaign movie about Hillary Clinton made it to the Supreme Court in 2010.
The court's momentous 5-4 decision that year led to the birth of super PACs and the overhaul of the campaign finance system.
"This film, in my opinion, is the definition of what the Reagan coalition was," said Citizens United President David Bossie. "The Reagan coalition was obviously Republicans, but it was Democrats and independents, too, who wanted American exceptionalism and wanted to believe and have hope."
Before its full premiere next week and subsequent showing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Bannon plans to preview the film during an hour-long special scheduled to air on the Fox News Channel on Friday night.
The 64-minute documentary opens with footage of Obama supporters reacting ecstatically to his victory on Election Night in 2008. Pro-Obama commentary from an array of cable news hosts and celebrities is then intercut with clips of the 40 focus-group-tested non-Republican interviewees, 25 of whom are women.
All of those interviewed hail from key districts in seven swing states, according to Bannon and Bossie, and many of them are shown recalling the excitement they felt in voting for the Democrat four years ago.
"He is just a charismatic individual who I saw as a knight in shining armor -- someone who came out of nowhere and was going to, you know, take my vote," one woman says.
The film's mood and accompanying musical score quickly turn dark, as the interviewees express regret for their votes and disappointment with the country's direction under the president.
"Obama's a great con artist," one of them says.
Bannon set to work on the film last October, shortly after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced that she would not run for president in 2012. "The Hope and the Change" keeps with the rabble-rousing style that the filmmaker employed in his previous works, including last year's pro-Palin documentary, "The Undefeated."
After the festivities and positive sentiments surrounding Obama's inauguration are shown, the movie veers back in time to the near-collapse of the financial sector in the fall of 2008 but does not clarify that those events took place before the current president took office.
"The American investment bank Lehman Brothers has filed for bankruptcy," reports a Sky News anchor in an event that occurred in September 2008 but appears in the movie after Obama is shown being sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
The film next features a photograph of Obama sitting with cabinet members in the White House juxtaposed with footage surrounding the bailout of Citigroup -- an event that also occurred under the direction of the Bush administration.
But several of the interviewees in the film appear to mistakenly believe that government actions such as the TARP program and Citigroup bailout were initiated by Obama, rather than his predecessor.
After a clip from a CBS News report on the November 2008 Citigroup bailout is shown, an interviewee says, "I tried to put on a positive face to that and say, 'Well, the president is on the inside of that and knows hopefully a lot more about this, has advisers, so I'm not going to judge too harshly here,' but it is concerning."
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