Watch CBSN Live

Newt Gingrich to star in Citizens United movie about "American exceptionalism"

With Republican presidential candidates preparing to face off in their first debate next week, Citizens United Productions, a production company affiliated with the Newt Gingrich-associated Republican advocacy group Citizens United, will release a film entitled "A City Upon A Hill" - a documentary-style film on "American exceptionalism" co-starring Gingrich.

The film, which will premiere on Friday in Washington, D.C., features interviews with Gingrich, his "co-host" and wife Callista, and a handful of prominent Republicans discussing the idea that America is the best country in the world.

"Exceptionalism for Americans is the belief that the United States is in some way more open, more vigorous, more optimistic than other nations are," says Gingrich, a likely 2012 presidential contender, in the film's trailer. "Our best leaders have reminded us that we have a moral obligation to the cause of freedom and that the cause of freedom is the cause of all mankind."

(Watch the trailer above.)

The movie, which according to its website includes a mixture of "real stories from Americans" and interviews with political figures, touts the idea that, as Citizens United president David Bossie puts it, "America is a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world." It also warns that this "exceptionalism" may be at risk -- and seems to pin the blame on Democrats.

"Our belief in American exceptionalism has historically been bipartisan," Gingrich intones. "However, there are signs that this is no longer so."

"We're at battle, quite frankly, between two competing values - the American system and the European socialistic system," adds conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart.

The theme of "American exceptionalism" has become a prominent battle cry among the GOP presidential field.

Mitt Romney, who recently announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, wrote in his 2010 book that "This reorientation away from a celebration of American exceptionalism is misguided and bankrupt."

And Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, suggested in a 2010 interview that president Obama had an anti-exceptionalist perspective.

"His worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we've had," Huckabee said of the president. "To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation."

Gingrich was not the only possible presidential hopeful to make an appearance in the film: Rep. Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump also speak out on behalf of American greatness.

"American exceptionalism is really a great term, and it's something that is very special to us," Trump says in the trailer. "And by the way, we have to be very, very careful to protect it and cherish it because it can also disappear."

"A City Upon A Hill" was written and directed by Kevin Knoblock, who has produced and/or directed a number of films for Citizens United Productions. It is not currently scheduled for a wide release.

View CBS News In