New Obama campaign video unveils ‘Forward’ slogan, mostly ignores Romney

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

Against whom is President Barack Obama running in November?

Mitt Romney has just one brief, silent cameo in the Obama campaign's new seven-minute ad. The presumptive Republican nominee gets about as much screen time as former President George W. Bush and less than tea party demonstrators or top congressional Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Instead of working together to lift America up, Republicans were waging a campaign to tear the president down," the narrator intones, as conservative firebrands Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity appear in archival footage. Then comes Romney's big moment: More than three minutes into the video, we finally get a glimpse of a photograph of him standing at what appears to be a Republican presidential debate with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The video, entitled "Forward," hits home the fact that Obama inherited a historic recession—a downturn that former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan describes in a news clip as a "once-in-a-century type of event." Bush is seen but not heard discussing the collapse, which the ad says resulted in the loss of 4,400,000 jobs by the time Obama took office in January 2009.

Cue footage of tea party demonstrators, some holding "Don't Tread On Me" flags, while the ad's male narrator declares that "some said America's best days were behind us." By contrast, "Obama moved quickly to push his economic stimulus" highlights the video. It shows a Bureau of Labor Statistics figure that the economy created 4.1 million new jobs between March 2010 and March 2012.

The ad touts Obama's legislative victories, including his health care law and the rewrite of rules for Wall Street "to make sure they never again wreck our economy." And, yes, it trumpets the killings of Anwar al-Awlaki—a U.S. citizen targeted for assassination in a drone strike in Yemen—and Osama bin Laden.

The campaign did not explicitly label "Forward" as its new slogan, but that didn't stop some in the media from doing so—and pointing out that it resembles MSNBC's "Lean Forward." (But perhaps it's an homage to Wisconsin's state motto, "Forward," or to the Jewish Daily Forward, or to an ad campaign by Washington, D.C.'s, problem-plagued public transportation agency?) Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt shot back on Twitter: "Funny that some in media think most people follow cable news slogans as closely as they do. Also apparently off limits: 'trust' 'fair' 'vote.'"

In a press release, the Obama campaign describes the video as "an important grassroots organizing tool" and says that it will be played when the president and first lady Michelle Obama hold rallies together in Ohio and Virginia next Saturday.

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