Press

Obama's Unwanted Cameo

By Matthew Mosk
The trailer for the new documentary about Hillary Clinton produced by the conservative group Citizen United opens not with the voice of one of her Republican rivals, but with the deep baritone of Barack Obama. And that's not sitting well with the Illinois senator, who has recently taken pains to paint his campaign as fighting cleaner than those of his Democratic rivals.

"Sen. Clinton is claiming, basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn't work out. In which case, she says she had nothing to do with it," Obama says in the clip as the screen shifts from still shots of Sen. Clinton to a close-up of Obama's face.

The trailer is for "Hillary: The Movie," a film by David Bossie, who became famous for investigations of Whitewater and other matters during the Clinton administration. It gives no indication of whether Obama sat for an interview for the film, or if his comments came from repackaged news footage.

Obama's name is not on the cast list, and yet, his is the first voice heard on the trailer -- a choice that did not go unnoticed by Obama's lawyer.

The footage, it turns out, is from an interview Obama did with ABC's Nightline, and as the Illinois senator heads into the final weeks of campaigning before the Iowa caucus, the last role he wants to play is as the front man for the Citizens United film. Others who have star turns in the movie include: Dick Morris, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich and Kathleen Willey.

"As Citizens United and the film's producer, David Bossie, well know, Senator Obama disagrees wholly with their politics, positions and tactics," wrote Robert F. Bauer, Obama's lawyer, in a letter yesterday to the Citizens United attorney, James Bopp, Jr. "We request that all audio and video footage of Senator Obama be immediately removed from the film and its trailer."

But the missive from Bauer did not have the desired effect. Bopp's response, in a letter back to Bauer today, says the conservative group "declines your invitation to alter the film and its trailer by deleting footage of your client, Senator Barack Obama."