Following a pair of newly released ads by the Obama campaign in which the President makes the case for his reelection personally, sources have revealed that the ads showed more than just America’s real commander-in-chief. They also showed the interior of the White House’s famous West Wing – a development that has some questioning the President’s integrity, while others claim it’s nothing new from a sitting officeholder. Watch the ads below:
The ads’ images of the White House interior are not immediately recognizable as the White House. In other words, President Obama did not film himself broadcasting live from the Oval Office, though this would not have been unheard of either. In fact, former President Ronald Reagan filmed a campaign ad sitting at the Oval Office desk:
Still, the choice of venue has some people wondering whether the President has crossed a line in terms of public perception. From the New York Times:
“What a White House has to be careful of is that they don’t too easily use the tools around them in a way that would be inappropriate,” said Matt Schlapp, who served as Mr. Bush’s political director.
Several former Bush officials, including Mr. Schlapp, said they recalled Mr. Bush being filmed walking along the Colonnade alongside the Rose Garden, including some of him walking side-by-side with favored Republican lawmakers. But Mr. Schlapp, now a Republican strategist, said Mr. Obama’s ad is different.
“Presidents are careful. There are these conversations about where the lines are,” Mr. Schlapp said. “The perception could be to the voter that President Obama is more focused on his re-election instead of getting the job done.”
Richard W. Painter, who was the chief ethics officer in the Bush White House and now teaches at the University of Minnesota law school said that “filming a political commercial in the chief of staff’s office would imply official endorsement, and I would probably say no.”
But he added that it would not be illegal, and that he would not have made a big case of it. “So long as it does not involve fund-raising I wouldn’t strenuously object,” he said. “I would not describe it as highly improper.”
So does this particular usage of the White House go too far? Weigh in below.