October 7th, 2009
06:45 AM ET
5 years ago

First on the Ticker: Obama enlists Hollywood in new ad

President Obama is turning to a handful of Hollywood stars to judge a contest that asks grassroots supporters to create a television commercial promoting health care reform.
President Obama is turning to a handful of Hollywood stars to judge a contest that asks grassroots supporters to create a television commercial promoting health care reform.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama is turning to a handful of Hollywood stars to judge a contest that asks grassroots supporters to create a television commercial promoting health care reform.

Musician Will.I.Am, actor John Cho, actress Rosario Dawson, actor Dulé Hill, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, actor Brandon Routh, actress Kate Walsh and actress Olivia Wilde will join Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, DNC Executive Director Jen O'Malley Dillon, Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and volunteers in helping to pick the 30-second commercial that will air nationally, a DNC official tells CNN.

The contest is being run by Obama's political arm – Organizing for America – which is housed at DNC headquarters in Washington, DC. It is the latest effort by the president's political team to try and enlist the grassroots to help pressure Congress to pass health care reform this year.

"We know that compelling videos can touch people in a way that words alone simply cannot," Natalie Foster, OFA's new media director, said in an e-mail announcing the contest last week. "The messages that regular people put together will make a bigger difference than any false smears or slick ads the other side can dream up. And who knows - your creative, powerful, or touching video could help tip the balance in favor of health reform."

OFA will officially announce the names of the judges late Wednesday morning. The contest ends October 18.

Follow Mark Preston on Twitter: @prestoncnn


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess the question is - do these people have any more of a clue about what is going on in Congress than the rest of us? DO they have a better idea of what should be done? Some of them might have new ideas. If they get people who do to proclaim their ideas, it will be some good for the country.

    October 7, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  2. Jane wants the truth

    If he cannot do it by the good old "speech" then go try Hollywood.. When is the WH going to stop the propoganda and lies and tell the Americans the TRUTH!

    October 7, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  3. jules sand-perkins

    One must take Hollywood celebrities' political postures with a block of salt.
    It is required for stars' PR images to be seen as socially concerned, "right thinking," do-gooders who can't find enough chances to say the lie, "I'm just like you." Actually, stars seldom face serious financial problems.
    Only rarely will a movie star like Heston take a conservative stance on a political issue.
    It is greatly to Hollywood's advantage to sing along with Obama, on the way to the bank, "The People United Shall Never Be Defeated."

    October 7, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  4. Willy Brown

    Obummer tapping the most intelligent minds in America for help. Hmmm he must be afraid of us common folk. LOL.

    October 7, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. Bedtime for Obonzo

    When the going gets tough, the weak turn to Hollywood.

    October 7, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  6. Sam Sixpack

    "We know that compelling videos can touch people in a way that words alone simply cannot,"

    Translation:

    "We know that misleading and dishonest videos can trick people in a way that the truth simply cannot."

    October 7, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. Terry from West Texas

    I doubt that Hollywood Liberals are going to be any match for the Conservative propaganda machine. Conservative leaders can call up their rowdy troops to invade meetings or hold noisy protests at the snap of a finger, apparently. They play Conservative voters like a harmonica.

    I think the health care bill is already dead. In the end, Congress will pass a bill that will make health care harder to get and insurance companies richer. It will be entitled the "Healthy America Act" or somesuch misleading phrase. It may include tort reform and a clause forbidding Medicare to negotiate with BIG PHARMA.

    On tort reform, by the way, we in Texas are way ahead of the nation. We passed tort reform. Now, if your doctor removes both feet and both hands instead of your appendix, you can sue for up to $250,000. After lawyer's fees, you will receive about three years' salary. And in case your wondering, studies have shown that the cost of medical care did not go down one dime as a result.

    October 7, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Gary in VA

    Ha ha ha. Totally going about it all wrong.... it's the OLD PEOPLE that are causing the problems. They don't know who John Cho or Brandon Routh is. Actually I don't either but I KNOW that they don't. And they DON'T care about some silly contest. You're going to have to force them into the program. They're old and weak, that shouldn't be a problem even for Obama.

    October 7, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. obummer, 1 and done

    Wow! Pulling out the big guns!

    Could anyone pick any of these people out of a crowd? Guess even the big names are jumping off the obummer care ship.

    October 7, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. Sniffit

    Quick!, Run Justin Timberlake, Britany Spears and Paris Hilton! Your POTUS needs you!

    He could have just put his message on reality shows and X-box game consoles to reach the same audience.

    October 7, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. JES

    Why not he thinks he is a movie star.

    If his health was any good he wouldn't have a problem selling it.

    October 7, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  12. Chrissy, Tx

    Better yet, why doesn't he ask those Hollywood stars to fork over their money and pay for our health care insurance. That should work, since they are always complaining about this mean, ungrateful country they live in!

    October 7, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. U.S. Common Sense

    Begging for Hollywood to bail you out is not a good sign of leadership. It is sad that "Mr. Inspiration" during the election has caused so many people to tune him out now. Thinking that Hollywood actors can do a better job at inspriring the general public to back a piece of legislation shows how he has lost control over the topic.

    October 7, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  14. Jerry

    You can not be serious, more smoke and mirrors. The change you voted for folks

    October 7, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    What is Obama going to do this time, invite these actors to the WH for another photo-op than tell them that they don't look like actors and have his staff dress them up as Cowboys and Indians or movie gangsters?

    October 7, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  16. Mike

    And once again he retreats to the hollywood liberals for assistance in his health care plan. Whats next, bring in hollywood actors who have pretended to be soldiers in movies and ask their advice on how to wage a war. Who with a thimble full of intelligence would listen to hollywood. PATHETIC.....

    October 7, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. Dont blame me

    This ought to be good.

    A left wing president is relying on a FAR left wing Hollywood to judge these adds? I am sure that they will come up with some real tear jerkers, but how HONEST will they be? From what we hae seen so far, HONESTY is a hinderance to this administration.

    NONE of these people, including the president have any common sense.

    These are the very people that John Kerry called "main stream" America. Come on now, Hollywood actors "main stream", give me a break.

    October 7, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  18. NH Independent

    Nobody in hollywood or any person in America with a sob story on video will sway any persons view in this country that have a desire to protect our country from the current proposed healthcare reform that would tax away our future, take our personal healthcare choices out of our hands and ration care. Liberal Democrats must face the fact that they and celebrity obama is losing ground on this issue and they are calling on the most artificial and plastic of all.... "Hollywood" to judge a sob story contest....give me a break!

    October 7, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  19. rr

    because nothing says "health care reform expert" like an actor, rapper, or pop singer!

    October 7, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. seebofubar

    What a dummy. The only group that Americans trust less than politicians is actors. This guy is at the end of his rope.

    October 7, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. Emmanuel Goldstein

    This is news???? Hollywood is the unofficial media arm of the democratic party. Where else would he turn? Flyover country?

    October 7, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  22. Vets4Obama

    I propose a boycott on all companies that advertise on Saturday Night Live this weekend for being mean to our great POTUS last week. Come on everybody, who's with me?

    October 7, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  23. munchmom

    Always trying to be a star, and hanging with Hollywood just like the Clintons did. I thought he was for the common folk, and I got news for him.....I never listened to stars who played politics on either side, because they don't know what they are talking about. They pick and choose causes as it suits them and their careers. Doesn't say much about this administration, but then.......

    October 7, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  24. Great...

    Who paid for this? Our tax dollars at work...

    October 7, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  25. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Just so you know, we have Edward Bernays to thank for mixing our politics with Hollywood, business with Hollywood, business with politics. The list goes on and on.

    October 7, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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