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‘The Road We’ve Traveled’ under President Obama

The video cost at least $354,000 to make, which is really chump change in the context of what this campaign will spend.

Don’t click on this link unless/until you have 17 minutes to watch a video that summarizes Barack Obama’s case for reelection.

It’s titled “The Road We’ve Traveled.” The Obama campaign released it Thursday. It cost at least $354,000 to make, which is really chump change in the context of what this campaign will spend. Tom Hanks narrates. Bill Clinton is the guest star, popping up several times and, as usual, stealing the show.

None of the presentation techniques seem particularly innovative. Watching it, I was struck by how long 17 minutes feels in the age of the 30-second commercial and all the other speed-ups that have shortened our attention spans and all the dumb-downs that have trained us to bypass our brains in what now passes for “thinking.” The Lincoln-Douglas debates were three hours apiece in a format that featured a 90-minute rebuttal speech in the middle by whichever of the candidates went second. No music, no visual aids, no questions from the moderator.

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But I digress. Back to the Obama video. The argument is fairly predictable. He got Bin Laden. He passed the health care bill. He saved the auto industry. He inherited an economic mess. Worse than anyone realized at the time. (Translation: Yes, it’s true that I said my economic program would keep unemployment below 8 percent, but no one knew at the time how deep a hole we were in.) Now the economy is growing.

Mitt Romney targets this logic in advance when he says that Obama’s excuse for the continuing weaknesses in the economy amounts to “it could have been worse.”

In a way that nails both the Repub attack and the Obama counterargument. If Obama wins re-election he will be the first president since FDR to be re-elected with an unemployment rate this high. We can’t know what the economy would be doing if John McCain — or Mitt Romney, who also ran —  had beaten Obama in 2008.

Have a nice weekend.