Citizens United has struck a deal with a dozen television stations to run its hour-long film featuring voters disaffected with President Barack Obama, sending the Republican critique of the incumbent into tens of millions of homes in the lead-up to Election Day, the group’s officials told POLITICO. “The Hope and the Change” directed by Stephen Bannon, who made the Sarah Palin movie “The Undefeated,” was first unveiled last month and it aired during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
The movie’s wide release — backed by a large advertising campaign behind it — was part of the goal of the Citizens United court case that was decided in 2010 by the U.S. Supreme Court and helped to dramatically alter the landscape for political donations by allowing the unfettered flow of corporate cash into campaigns.
“This (the court case) is why I did ‘Citizens United,’” David Bossie, the group’s president said. “This would have been a criminal act under McCain-Feingold before my court case.”
Bossie makes filmmaker Michael Moore his template — he had attempted to follow in the footsteps of the commercial and political efforts of Farenheit 9/11, with a movie about Hillary Clinton during the 2008 cycle. But the Clinton film was blocked after it was ruled a form of electioneering. The Citizens United case was about Bossie’s efforts to get similar movies into the bloodstream. This movie — set to start airing on Tuesday and run through Nov. 6 on six cable and six broadcast networks — features forty Democratic and independent voters who backed Obama in 2008 and have since become disillusioned. Much of the film consists of the voters talking, with an overlay of world events over the last four years.
The voters talk about what they had expected Obama to accomplish once in office, and why they had supported him. Bossie says the voters, who come from swing states such as Florida, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, were picked from focus groups that were conducted by former Jimmy Carter adviser Pat Caddell. The narrative in the piece is not uplifting, but its goal is tapping into a sentiment that exists among voters of disappointment that Obama didn’t live up to their high expectations, and which Obama’s campaign has tried to push back against.