There are no new bombshells in the new “documentary” about President Obama’s first term. Rather, “The Road We’ve Traveled,” narrated by Oscar winner Tom Hanks, directed by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim and produced by Obama’s reelection campaign, is a refresher course of how President Obama tackled problems facing the nation. From the economy to health care form, to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to the war in Iraq, it’s all there, but mostly the economy, which former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel describes in the movie as “frozen up in cardiac arrest.” We’re also reminded, of course, that the financial collapse happened before Obama took office. He inherited the mess, and he cleaned it up.
There are plenty of other bold-faced political names in the video aside from Emanuel. Former President Bill Clinton, consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden all make cameos to remind the voter, I mean viewer, just how hard Obama worked under seemingly impossible odds. And Hanks’ grave narration helps, too.
“Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one President,” says Hanks at the start of the 17-minute flick, setting a dramatic tone for what is the most highly stylized, comprehensive and perhaps longest campaign commercial ever. In the auto bailout subplot, Obama’s reelection team worked in a dig about Mitt Romney’s politically damaging op-ed “Let Detroit go Bankrupt.”
At the end of the film, during a flashback to Obama’s historic November 2008 win, Hanks implores the viewer/voter, “When we remember this moment and consider this president, then and now, let’s remember how far we’ve come and look forward to the work still to be done.”
So, if you want a “previously on the presidency” or simply want to watch a glossy and exceptionally well-done campaign commercial, here is “The Road We’ve Traveled,” or “Barack Obama: an American David,” which is what it would have been called if Obama were a Republican. That’s basically the message here.