WASHINGTON -- Syncing politics with Hollywood glitz and production, the Obama campaign formally released on Thursday night a much-hyped 17-minute documentary on the president's first term in office.
The film tells the story of the past few years through a rosy filter and with the deft touch of an accomplished director. Davis Guggenheim, who put together Al Gore's award-winning "An Inconvenient Truth," was handed the reins for the project. Actor Tom Hanks is the narrator.
The material is, by now, well-traveled terrain, emphasizing the enormity of the problems that President Barack Obama inherited and bookending his first term with the bailout and subsequent recovery of the auto industry.
But there are some twists. Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel cops to advising Obama that he should consider spending less time and capital on health care reform. Vice President Joe Biden states his belief that the president would have been limited to one term if the Osama bin Laden raid had failed. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau creator Elizabeth Warren, assessing the pro and cons of the auto bailout, says the president could have had "blood on his hands" had the industry and economy imploded. And then there is the president himself, who sat down with the filmmakers to discuss that bin Laden raid.
"I didn't have time for a lot of feelings at that point because our guys were still in that compound," Obama says into the camera. "And it wasn't until I knew they were across the border, safe, everybody was accounted for, including the dog, that I allowed for some satisfaction."
Finally, there is the not-so-subtle dig at one Republican rival for his opposition to the auto bailout. "A lot of conventional wisdom wanted to do what Mitt Romney did. Let it go, can't be saved, why put good money after bad," recalls Emanuel.
This isn't a new attack on Romney. In fact, it's one that the president's reelection campaign has repeated ad nauseam throughout the course of the Republican presidential primary. But the fact that it surfaces in a documentary on Obama's first term underscores how geared the film is to the needs of a presidential campaign.
An Obama campaign official tells The Huffington Post that there will be more than 300 premiere screenings Thursday night in offices and at supporters' homes across the country.
"Many of these are tied to phone banks or office openings," the aide adds. "David Axelrod will be doing a Q-and-A session with these premieres via Adobe Connect immediately following the screenings. This Q-and-A session will be viewable from the live stream on the website."