Earlier this week, we wrote a piece making the case that President Obama is cool, that Mitt Romney isn’t and that that reality could actually work in favor of the Republican nominee this fall.
American Crossroads, the leading conservative outside group in this election, seemed to agree with that sentiment — releasing a web video on the subject of Obama’s coolness less than 24 hours after we published our item.
“Four years ago, America elected the biggest celebrity in the world and it got one cool president,” reads the text on the screen while chants of “Obama” are heard and images of the President sporting shades and dancing with Ellen DeGeneres are shown.
Then a series of stark facts about college students — including that 85 percent of recent graduates are moving back in with their parents — are shown on screen. “After four years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?” is shown on screen as Obama is shown hugging late night TV host Jimmy Fallon.
Within 36 hours of its posting, the video had garnered more than 200,000 views on You Tube and prompted a (self) congratulatory memo from Crossroads communications director Jonathan Collegio.
“The ‘Cool’ ad captures something that has been simmering for a while but hasn’t been given voice — not so much that Obama is ‘cool’ but that he is more image than substance,” wrote Collegio. “ It’s all speeches and photo ops and slogans and pop culture frissons, with a chance to win dinner with the [President of the United States] and George Clooney last week and a Rolling Stone cover next week.” (Bonus points to Collegio for using the word “frisson”.)
Make no mistake: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his campaign is paying close attention to the online success of the “cool” ad. (Worth noting: Web ads tend to be plays to the party base not a persuasion tactic like, say, a television ad. So it’s not clear the “cool” ad could sell to undecided voters.)
This is clearly line of attack that provokes strong reaction (on both sides). Can Romney find a way to make the “cool/celebrity” attack stick in a way Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) couldn’t in 2008?