early and often

Obama Doc Road Traveled: A By-the-Numbers Look

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama held his first news conference of the year on Super Tuesday as his Republican rivals battled for votes in 10 states. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2012 Getty Images

The Ides of March seemed as good a day as any for Obama 2012 to (unofficially) kick off. Joe Biden won the morning with this picture and an energetic union-hall speech in Toldeo, Ohio, in which he actually named the Republican candidates for president. And at 8 p.m., Davis Guggenheim’s seventeen-minute Obama documentary, The Road We’ve Traveled, premiered in all its Tom Hanks–narrated, spine-tingling glory. Let’s take a by-the-numbers look at the film, paid for by Obama for America:

Mentions of Mitt Romney: 1, unfavorably by Rahm Emanuel on the auto bailout
Black and white photographs of Obama: 11
Mentions of FDR: 1 (“Not since the days of FDR had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president,” quoth Hanks.)
Clip reels from the Great Depression: 2
Obama hugging babies: 2
Obama hugging Hillary Clinton: 1
Images of Obama with index finger resting on closed mouth, apparently deep in thought: 5, one of which was during a meeting with the Dalai Lama
Mentions of hope and/or change: 0

David Axelrod answered questions, submitted via Twitter, after the premiere. Someone asked how realistic The West Wing is. Axelrod answered the question sans irony, describing a day when Obama was set to make a decision about the auto bailout in between meetings about strategy in Afghanistan:

I went back to my office, and slumped in my chair, and the phone rang. It was Rahm Emanuel saying ‘get in here, [Wells] Fargo is underwater’. I said what is this, an episode of The West Wing?

The GOP wasted no time mocking the documentary with a fake movie poster. According to the poster, the movie is does not star “13 million unemployed Americans, three record deficits and a coherent energy policy.” But all Americans, left, right, or Ron Paul, can agree that the poster features some pretty amazing pictures of Biden and Obama having a water-gun fight while wearing baseball hats.

Guggenheim also directed An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman. Federal Election Commission reports show that the Obama campaign spent about $345,353 for the film, about $20,300 per minute. The Obama campaign declined to comment on whether that sum includes Hanks’s compensation for his narration. We guess Morgan Freeman was busy that day.

Obama Doc Road Traveled: A By-the-Numbers Look