By Michael A. Memoli
7:44 AM CST, March 8, 2012
In a campaign thus far dominated by 30-second ads and debate sound bites, President Obama's reelection effort is taking a more expansive approach is it begins making its case to voters in earnest.
Obama 2012 on Thursday released a two-minute trailer for what is ultimately set to be a 17-minute documentary that advisors say will "put into perspective" the challenges that the president has faced and the difficult choices he has made in an effort to put the American economy back on track.
Narrated by Tom Hanks, it begins with this question: "How do we understand this president and his time in office? Do we look at the day's headlines? Or do we remember what we, as a country, have been through?"
The trailer is the latest indication of how "We can't wait" isn't just the mantra at the White House, but of his Chicago reelection headquarters.
Even as the Republican race for president slogs on with no end in sight, the Obama campaign is ramping up its efforts to frame the general-election choice for voters in the coming weeks.
Vice President Joe Biden is set to take a lead role in that effort with a major speech next week that is to contrast the course Obama has taken with the policies outlined by his potential foes.
That speech, the first of four, is set for Ohio, a key general-election battleground state and the most hotly contested GOP Super Tuesday primary, which Mitt Romney narrowly won over Rick Santorum.
The full documentary, called "The Road We've Traveled," is set to be officially released next Thursday and promises to tell a story "about determination and progress" told "by those who saw it happen." Watch parties at Obama campaign offices around the country will allow the campaign to continue building its infrastructure.
The trailer features testimonials from a range of administration officials, including Biden, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, economic advisor Austan Goolsbee and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advisor Elizabeth Warren.
The economic collapse figures to be a major part of the documentary, but it's also expected to offer insights into other major decisions the president made -- to pursue healthcare reform, to bail out the auto industry and to target and kill Osama bin Laden.
"If we don't do this now, it'll be a generation before 30 million people have health insurance," Biden says in the trailer.
"If the auto industry goes down, what happens to America's manufacturing base, what happens to jobs in America, what happens to the whole Midwest?" Warren asks.
The campaign enlisted Davis Guggenheim, an Academy Award-winning director, to produce the documentary. He was also behind the 30-minute TV special the campaign aired in prime time in the closing weeks of the 2008 race.
Here's the full trailer: