The Obama 2012 campaign will enter a new phase Thursday when it launches a highly coordinated effort to rally supporters across the country.
The centerpiece of the effort is a glossy, 17-minute documentary-style video called “The Road We’ve Traveled,” which the campaign commissioned from Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim and narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
That production, which is scheduled to be released Thursday, will be buttressed by speeches from President Obama, at a community college in Largo, Md., and Vice President Biden, at an autoworkers union in Toledo, Ohio.
Though Obama’s appearance will be an official White House event, during which he talks about his energy policy, the cumulative effect of Team Obama’s public presence will be hard to miss — or at least the campaign hopes.
The video and Biden’s appearance, the first in a series of speeches during which the vice president will “define the general election,” according to campaign manager Jim Messina, have been planned for a while.
But the events come at an important moment: Obama’s public approval ratings have dipped recently, according to two national polls released this week — one from the Washington Post and ABC News, and the other from the New York Times and CBS News. Respondents cited disapproval over the president’s handling of rising gas prices.
Obama aides profess not to be concerned about the slump in his ratings, and they dismissed the results as not reflecting the true sense of the nation’s mood about the president, who has recently overseen an upturn in job creation.
Still, the campaign expects the video and Biden's speeches to inject energy into the president’s re-election effort, as his Republican rivals continue to slog it out in a grueling primary season.
In excerpts of Biden’s remarks provided by the campaign, the vice president touts the administration’s role in the resuscitation of the U.S. auto industry, which had teetered on the brink of bankruptcy when Obama took office but has rebounded with the help of emergency loans from the government.
“We all want a president with the courage of his convictions. Well folks, we have one,” Biden will say, according to the prepared text. “He made the tough call. And the verdict is in: President Obama was right and his critics were dead wrong.”
Biden also figures prominently in the campaign video, a hagiography of the president that is more slickly produced than most documentaries. In a video clip released last week by the campaign, Biden is shown talking about Obama’s decision to send U.S. military special forces into Pakistan to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
Guggenheim won his Oscar for the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” in which former Vice President Al Gore discusses global warming.
The Obama campaign has used the lead-up to the release of the video to enlist supporters through a sign-up on its Web site offering spots to be the first to see the film at campaign offices across the country.