Obama has gone to great lengths in his effort to align himself with Hollywood, both for the cash that it provides and for the “cool” factor that it offers. However, as the Republicans are fast to point out, his pursuit of glamour and fame has its risks.
While simultaneously dining with the likes of George Clooney, Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker, President Barack Obama is also trying to convince the American people that he’s taking their concerns seriously – and dealing with the economic plight of the country.
The Republican National Committee is finding Obama’s actions to offer amazing fodder for their criticism. Just on Monday, they released a web video called “Meanwhile” that shows unemployment numbers against a backdrop of clips from the Obama campaign where he’s hobnobbing with the rich and famous. The video ends with the tag line, “Obama’s focused on keeping his job. But what about yours?”
Exactly at the same time that the video was circulating, Obama was hosting rock star Jon Bon Jovi on Air Force One, on the way to a fundraiser to meet with other stars. While spending time with Vogue chief Anna Wintour and others, Obama was criticized by the RNC for doing so on the same day as there were dismal job reports.
Having not yet learned the expression that “two wrongs don’t make a right,” the Obama campaign struck back by saying that Romney had recently been with Donald Trump.
Certainly, Obama has good reason for using his star-studded friends. The event last week at Clooney’s house that included Tobey Maguire, Jack Black and Barbra Streisand brought in $15 million, while other famous voices allow Obama to target specific groups such as Hispanic woman with Eva Longoria or gay groups with Ricky Martin.
Heather Smith, the president of the youth-directed Rock the Vote, has said that, “All our polling shows an increased level of frustration with the pace of change, with the control of money and corporate interests in our political process. The question for the president will be not whether he uses celebrity spokespeople, but how he uses them and what kind of message they convey.”
As she continued, “People are worse off than they were four years ago. So it’s not just a straight to camera ‘go vote’ campaign. They need to leverage celebrities to actually talk about the issues.”
Time will tell if he’s able to rise above the glamour and sparkle to actually use his star-studded friends for the right reasons.