Campaign Film Shows 'Too-Perfect' Obama

Lack of passion in behind-the-scenes doc highlights problems with Obama's presidency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2009 8:10 AM CDT
In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, presidential candidate Barack Obama speaks at a rally at Western Gateway Park in Des Moines, Iowa.    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon )
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(Newser) – President Obama comes across as too perfect for his own good in upcoming HBO documentary By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, writes Richard Cohen. The behind-the-scenes look at the campaign shows Obama as cool and collected as ever, Cohen writes in the Washington Post, with no sign of him overcoming any huge obstacles or changing as a person. His victory almost seems like an anticlimax, complains Cohen, who admits the film moved him to tears twice.

The movie shows Obama as "something new and something young," Cohen writes, but never as the champion of any ideology or political constituency. This apparent lack of passion may not matter if Obama's presidency succeeds, Cohen writes, but if he fails on issues like health care reform, it'll show just being "the smartest guy in the room" isn't enough. "Warmth and commitment matter, too—a driving sense of conviction, the fulsome embrace of causes and not just issues. That is not something Obama has yet shown."