October 25th, 2012
10:45 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama video compares voting to losing virginity

(CNN) – Conservatives seemed to collectively gasp Thursday night when a web video from President Barack Obama's campaign slyly compared a person's first time voting to losing one's virginity.

The star of the video, Lena Dunham, created and stars in the HBO show "Girls." In the video, she appears in a close-up shot explaining the first time she voted.

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"Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody," the actress and writer says. "You want to do it with a great guy."

The unspoken comparison continues, as Dunham describes what kind of "guy" she's talking about.

"It should be with a guy that really understands women," she says. "A guy who cares whether you get health insurance, specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge. You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq. You don't want to do it with a guy who says, 'Hey I'm at the library studying,' when really he's out not signing the Lilly Ledbetter act."

At the end, the metaphor becomes even clearer: "My first time voting was amazing. There's a line in the sand. Before I was a girl, now I was a woman."

"I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama," the video concludes.

Dunham, whose show on HBO centers around her character's life as a young woman in New York City, doesn't shy away from risqué topics. In a taped opening at this year's Emmys, she was featured completely nude, eating a cake on a toilet. HBO, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

Conservatives expressed consternation at the Obama campaign video, suggesting it was a step into the gutter for the incumbent Democrat.

"The more we talk about it in this campaign, the more insulting it is to women," Kellyanne Conway, a Republican strategist, said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

"They can do the math. Not everything has to be about biology," Conway said.

The reaction was similar on Twitter.

[tweet https://twitter.com/PatrickRuffini/status/261639609300185088%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/261617752136114176%5D

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Filed under: 2012 • President Obama
soundoff (397 Responses)
  1. Dnkgraves

    This is proof that the POTUS is not Christian. He know he is going to die in a few weeks and he is rounding up his 72.

    October 26, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota:
    Beyond that, most of us remember our first presidential vote and considered ourselves quite grown up for having finally voted. Most of us also remember each and every presidential vote we cast thereafter.
    Indeed we do.
    The analogy continues.
    Well put Lynda!

    October 26, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Malory Archer


    If this ad doesn't project the most pathetic desperation...


    Right on Wow! The tighty righties ARE projecting!

    October 26, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Captain Awesome

    "...specifically whether you get birth control." Wow. This is a typical female democrat who thinks with her emotions instead of her brain. Who's going to take away her birth control? Dumb dumb dumb...

    October 26, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. UrAverageJoe

    I don't find it offensive to sell something with the "virginity" motif, but not sure it's the classiest ad to be running as the president of the united states . . .

    October 26, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Lisa P

    "They can do the math. Not everything has to be about biology," Conway said.
    Actually, our biology also makes us better at math. For us it's about both.

    As for the web viseo, it seems to me that it is doing everything that it was supposed to be doing. Keep on talking about it, harrumpfing offended out-of-touch conservatives - those virgin votes add up!

    October 26, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Elmo not happy

    Yes, this Ad was a farce for Team Obama. It was intended as a cheeky and light-hearted meme but instead it just opened the floodgates. The funny thing is, the GOP has been in such political strife from the media and women voters for all of the extreme references and near justifications of rape and pro-life at all costs rhetoric from core conservative candidates across the midwest.

    In comparison, the Obama ad is completely innocent of any insult or degradation to women. However, in context with the current women's issues debate going on in this election, it's nothing less than an extremely poor choice by Obama and shows his cocky, over-confident side rather than his compassionate and in-touch side in regards to modern women's issues.

    October 26, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Oh Come On!

    I'm voting for President Obama because I feel we are going in the right direction. (as the GDP indicates)

    This commercial however, is a distraction and is not a smart move. Its message of 'I voted for Barack' is ineffective, and it may do more harm than good with its suggestive implications. (especially since there's a war with women voters) Whoever came up with this concept must be in Romney's camp to sabotage the Obama campaign.

    DNC, spend your money on more effective commercials, please. Talk more about that fact we ARE moving in the right direction with the economy. Inspire HOPE, please.

    October 26, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. minx

    Smart women vote with their brains...not their uteri!

    October 26, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. john

    This ad doesn't say much about the intelligence of the expected audience.

    October 26, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "Actually, our perception of women is more considerate and dignified than liberals. We don't use the issue for political gain."

    FUNNIEST. POST. TODAY. Wow. GOPers/Teatrolls don't use women's issues and reproductive issues for political gain? HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHA!!!!!!!! FREEKIN. HILARIOUS.

    October 26, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Patrick

    Trashy, yes, but I have come to expect no less from the current administration.

    October 26, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. john

    If voting is like losing one's virginity and Obama got elected I can understand why so many women are in favor of abortion. Is it too late?

    October 26, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Fernando

    Disturbing – to the disturbed.

    October 26, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Lisa P

    And make that "video", not "viseo". My typing skills have slipped since menopause - soon I'll do math as badly as Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan 🙁

    October 26, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. Dana

    And why is virginity a bad word and/or taboo? Are Repubs that old, really?

    October 26, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Marie

    I am young & a mother. I can tell you that this is awful and offensive. But, it does show the fact that our youth has been desensitized to sexual innuendos. This turned my stomach. The pictures in the back of your mind as she speaks...it's sick.

    October 26, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Sam Smith

    Good grief! Especially for those of us that have young daughters, this is awful. My wife thinks exactly the same.

    October 26, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. joan

    I think the ad is brilliant. And its just that – a creative ad. If you have problems with it, then its your issue.

    October 26, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Critical Thinking

    We democrats respect women, we are pro women, we don't treat women like objects...oh wait a minute, this commercial does treat women, very young women as objects..hmmm well anyway, we are pro women..there

    October 26, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. CryBabies

    C'mon CNN ..... The ad is stupid unless you are a liberal...then it is intelligent and deep thinking. Why not cover Benghazi and report the facts which exposes the administrations lying and cover up. " Transparency will be the cornerstone of my administration" Barack Obama said in 2009. Obviously campaigning and spewing childish slogans is more important than doing his job and holding a press conference to be "transparent" and truthful to the citizens of the U.S. And then he interviews on Brian Williams (NBC) and asks us to trust him! You earn "trust" Mr. President....you don't beg for it.

    October 26, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. houbie

    This election has become a three ring circus. Seriously, does anyone really think about the future anymore?

    All this pandering for votes makes we want to puke in an election booth instead of vote.

    October 26, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. indyreader

    I wouldn't have scripted an ad like that myself, but considering the choice between voting for Obama and knowing that woman's CHOICE will be defended, vs. voting for the religious nuts and getting f'd all over again if you get pregnant from rape, it seems this ad is on target.

    October 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Dwight

    I guess this explains alot. Act, don't think about the consequences and then hide the evidence and and deny responsibility.It is an Obama affair to be sure.

    October 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. J Russ

    not sure how the old folks view this........crass and condesending is what come to my mind

    October 26, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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