AUSTIN -- President Obama is ramping up his re-election campaign with a 17-minute documentary aimed to recapture the narrative of his presidency from his opponents.
Directed by Academy Award winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth," "Waiting for 'Superman'") and narrated by actor Tom Hanks, "The Road We've Traveled" is part documentary part campaign ad.
It plays like a presidential highlight reel, covering the passage of health care reform, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the president's handling of the recession through interviews with the First Family, former staff, and political allies.
"President Obama, whether you like him or not, ran one of the best campaigns for president in our history, and his campaign team hasn't changed," said University of Texas professor and documentary filmmaker Paul Stekler. "So this is a very good campaign mechanism to be able to reach his base and to be able to reach out to independents and also to make a case for what's happened in his presidency that he thinks he can get re-elected on."
"This kind of documentary is meant for people that will sit down and watch a longer piece," said Stekler. "It's not meant for television. It's not meant for casual viral video watching. It's meant for the Democratic base to be able to excite them, to remind them of the things that they like about the Obama administration, and also to be used for fund raising."
Republicans aren't buying in.
"You know every fairy tale has its prince charming, and that's basically how the president is positioned," former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele told KVUE. "Someone who sort of strode onto the scene and has kind of rescued America and helped the damsel in distress."
Steele doubts the president's heroic portrayal will help him come November.
"The nice commercials now are great, but it's not going to hide from the fact that $5 trillion in new debt, a health care plan that is basically taking over one sixth of our nation's economy, etcetera," said Steele. "So there's a lot there that we can get our teeth around, but right now, we'll live in the land of the fairy tale."
The former RNC chairman said the video does clue Republicans into what issues President Obama may use against the eventual GOP nominee.
"The reality of it is, this is a precursor though. So we do have a sense of how they're going to play some of the cards that they hold in their hands, and this is one example of that, and we need to have a sharp, very ready response when it comes," Steele said.
Austin Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett offers a different view of the president's performance thus far.
"I think this country is much better off because General Motors is alive, and Osama Bin Laden is dead," said Rep. Doggett. "And I think that speaks volumes about this administration."
Doggett said he believes the president is making progress despite inheriting an economic disaster.
"Again, we haven't dug out from all of it," said Rep. Doggett. "Unemployment is too high, even though we've been more successful here in Central Texas, we've got much more to do, but the steps he took prevented a much worse situation, and they've helped so much of our economy revive."