Watch CBSN Live

Hollywood campaign video promotes Obama's "tough decisions"

(CBS News) In 17 minutes, a documentary-like campaign film sums up President Obama's first term as a successful yet challenging time that saved the U.S. from deeper crisis.

The film, "The Road We've Traveled," narrated by Tom Hanks, is a rallying cry for the president's re-election campaign. It highlights five "tough decisions" the president made during his first term: the economic stimulus, the auto bailout, health care reform, Iraq troop withdrawal and Osama bin Laden's killing.

The film seeks to remind voters how dire the economic forecast during the height of the recession was, and it sought to promote the president's decisions as actions that saved the United States from deeper economic woes.

It notes Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney's opposition to the auto bailout with a picture of his 2008 op-ed in The New York Times titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," where Romney opposed giving federal dollars to the American auto industry.

On the other hand, the film says the president's actions around the auto bailout are justified because of the recent profits made and jobs added by of the American car companies. Although he made several appearances in the movie, on the auto bailout, former President Bill Clinton said: "People have no earthly idea what would have happened" if the auto companies went out of business.

Another tough decision made by Obama: the killing of Osama bin Laden. On this issue, the president made his only appearance in the film, emphasizing his position as commander-in-chief.

The president said it was after "everyone was accounted for, including the dog, that I allowed for some satisfaction."

Vice President Joe Biden also discussed bin Laden's death and the difficult choice the president had to make as his national security team told him that sending in Americans was risky. 

"He's all alone. This is his decision," Mr. Biden said. "If he's wrong, his presidency is done. It's over."

Mr. Clinton said in the film: "I said to myself, 'I hope that is a call I would have made.'"

Former Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emmanuel also appeared throughout the movie. He said he advised the president at the height of the health care debate to forgo large comprehensive health care reform, and instead accept a smaller, less expansive bill as opposition mounted.

"I regularly told him, 'Look, you don't have to spill this much political blood,'" Emmanuel said.

The 17-minute film was directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, who also produced Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and the education documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'"

The movie premiered at 8 p.m. ET on YouTube, and to watch it at that time, a person had to submit its email address and zip code -- crucial information for campaigns that use it to solicit money and send messages -- for easy access to the webpage.

Obama for America, President Obama's re-election campaign, spent $345,000 on the film, according to the right-leaning news website the Daily Caller.

View CBS News In