- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 26, 2012

Consider that “2016: Obama’s America” took in $6 million over the weekend in more than 1,000 theaters around the nation, the audiences described as rapt and thoughtful over what they saw on screen. Meanwhile, another film is set to hit the public radar: “The Hope & the Change,” produced by Citizens United founder David Bossie and writer-director Stephen K. Bannon, is based on 40 straightforward interviews with Democrats and independents in six swing states, all concerned about President Obama.

“I’m not interested in what he says any more, I’m interested in what he’s done,” says one voter, while another points out, “When I hear the phrase ‘hope and change,’ I definitely think of bait and switch.”

The film is scheduled for several free screenings at the Republican National Convention, along with a quartet of other documentaries, including “The Gift of Life,” introduced by Mike Huckabee, and “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny,” hosted by Newt Gingrich. The audacious Mr. Bossie and Mr. Bannon, meanwhile, also plan to show their film at the Democratic National Convention.

“The powerful voices in ‘The Hope & the Change’ will resonate with many citizens across the country who are disillusioned with the presidency of Barack Obama. This persuasive documentary will change many minds and get people off the fence and into the game,” Mr. Bossie says.

“I didn’t want to make a film that would simply preach to the choir. I want to reach the Reagan Democrats and pragmatic independents — the people who believe in the American dream and the idea that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. These are the very people who will decide this most critical election for future generations.”


“President Obama Vows to Support Florida During Isaac.”

- On-screen headline from the Weather Channel.


Why not use Rep. Ron Paul to bash Mitt Romney? There was lots of “dis” in the mix. Much press coverage of Mr. Paul’s “We Are the Future” rally in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday framed the event as proof of Republican disunity, and evidence of rampant disapproval of Mr. Romney among grass-roots folk — invariably described as disenchanted, disgruntled, disappointed or disgusted.

Thousands of “boisterous supporters” struck “a deeply critical tone against the Republican Party and its convention,” proclaimed the New York Times, while the Los Angeles Times noted that Mr. Paul’s campaign tested the Republican “big-tent capabilities” and that the “divide was evident.”

The San Francisco Chronicle assembled a list of who was cheered and who was booed at the rally. Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, liberty, freedom and raw milk won applause. The Romney campaign, the Republican National Committee, tyranny and the federal government did not.


A gourmet aside from the Tampa Bay Host Committee’s massive welcome cocktail party for 20,000 at Tropicana Field on Sunday evening: Guests noshed at 50 food stations, patriotically themed in red, white and blue. The red goodies were Cuban style, including paella and Cuban pork sandwiches. Blue snacks were all things seafood, including lobster macaroni and cheese and grouper sliders. And white? Organizers deemed it “Artistic American” — we’re talking pork nachos and Key lime Caesar salad.


Maybe “BFD” will surface soon. The Democratic National Committee continues to use tacky language to raise money for President Obama’s re-election campaign. Last week, Ann Marie Habershaw, CEO of Obama for America, sent out a public fundraising email describing a donor sweepstakes to meet the president at the Democratic National Convention as “pretty damn cool.”

Next up: Jeffrey Lerner, the DNC’s political director, who sent out his own email titled “Mitt Romney: Birther?” this weekend, telling Mr. Obama’s fans, “Donate $3 or more now to give Democrats the resources they need to cut through this crap and do what it takes to win in 73 days.”

Last but not least is campaign manager Jim Messina, who also sent out a plea for cash over the weekend to shore up Mr. Obama’s recent personal outreach to Democrats. “The end? I’ll either be looking at another four years in the White House or the end of this opportunity,” the president noted, then asked for $5.

“The answer to the President’s question is ‘hell no, it isn’t the end!’” Mr. Messina answered. He then asked for $5.


It’s not must-see TV, apparently. Broadcast networks are skimping on coverage of the Republican National Convention. Reluctant to give up lucrative prime-time programming, ABC, NBC and CBS can only manage a single hour a night, ceding the responsibility to cable news channels. But wait. American audiences have never been intrigued by convention drama, no matter how cleverly it’s are packaged.

It’s all in the numbers. Nielsen records for past Republican conventions reveal a keener interest. Ironically, the record-setting audience was in the pre-cable era: In 1976, 22 million households tuned in nightly to watch the Grand Old Party on the big three networks; 17.4 million watched the Democratic National Convention that year. In second place: 1992, when the audience was 20 million, with extra coverage provided on PBS and newly founded CNN. Democrats drew almost an equal number.

Four years later, 15.8 million households watched the Republican convention. In 2000, it was 14 million, an audience estimate that now included Fox News and MSNBC. In 2004, the GOP had an audience of 16.8 million. Democrats drew about the same numbers during all three conventions. And last time? Republicans won the audience derby in 2008, garnering 25 million viewing households, compared to 22.5 million for the Dems.


• 44 percent of Americans say President Obama is attacking Mitt Romney “unfairly” in the course of the campaign.

• 67 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

• 71 percent of Mr. Romney’s supporters and 19 percent of Mr. Obama’s supporters also agree.

• 40 percent of Americans overall say Mr. Romney is attacking Mr. Obama unfairly.

• 22 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent of Mr. Romney’s supporters and 60 percent of Mr. Obama’s supporters also agree.

Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,033 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 20 to 22.

Ballyhoo, hoopla, umbrellas to jharperwashingtontimes.com.

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