With the election only 5 days away, seeing Obama on TV is to be expected. But last night, he had an even greater presence than usual with a half hour infomercial airing on NBC, CBS, Fox, Univision (en español), MSNBC, BET, and TV One (but not Disney, Malia), and an interview via satellite on The Daily Show. So how'd he do?
If you missed the primetime special, you can find it here:
Certainly it was no Ross Perot and his charts. With the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth helming it, the special felt more like a documentary than an infomercial. In fact, with the families in need of better health care, it felt a lot like Michael Moore's Sicko. But while the half hour was admittedly dull at times, it seemed to accomplish its goals. Obama gave his platform clearly with nice little talking points written at the bottom of the screen. The focus on the regular American families showed his ability to connect to people. Interviews with top Democrats provided some powerful endorsements. And probably best were the parts on his biography and family. That stuff may be cheesy, but it's the best remedy to the silly "who is Barack Obama?" accusations made by Sarah Palin.
The live ending was a bit of a disappointment. Advertised throughout the special and with rumors of Bill Clinton appearing, seeing Obama merely ask for people's votes was a bit of a let-down. Still, the only thing in here that could hurt him is if the Oval Office-like setting for some of it seems too presumptuous. Otherwise, the special may help more people be able to trust him, if only for his excellent narrating voice.
His interview on Daily Show was more entertaining. Watch it here:
Jon Stewart's questions weren't exactly hard-hitting, with such nail-biters as "how are you?" But he did set Obama up for a lot of really good answers. Whether on the Bradley Effect ("I don't think white voters have gotten the memo"), bipartisanship ("Some of the problems are ones we can't solve with just one party dictating a solution"), or whether he still wants the job with all of the country's problems ("If you went into public service thinking you could have an impact, now is the time when you can have an impact"). But there were plenty of funny moments as well, in Obama's rebuttal to the socialism claim, questions of whether Obama's white half will vote based on the Bradley Effect, and the un-undecided nature of the typical Daily Show viewer. Plus, you get to see Obama smile a lot.