The creators of the viral parody “Obama That I Used to Know” found themselves in the middle of a CNN interview Wednesday that was anything but a laughing matter.
Justin Monticello and Ryan Newbrough’s Internet hit is a spoof of the Gotye song “Somebody That I Used to Know” and features — in addition to lots of body paint — quite a few jabs at the president’s job performance over the last three years in comparison to the soaring rhetoric that swept them both up in 2008.
CNN’s Alina Cho spoke with the pair Wednesday, and while the interview started off friendly enough, her questions seemed perhaps just a bit too pointed for the 20-something creators of a silly viral video.
“Alright, it gets a laugh, but in all seriousness can you even articulate what you two would have done with Guantanamo?” Cho asked, referring to the song’s line, “Made out like you’d close Guantanamo and we got nothing.”
She added, “Clearly the president made a promise, one of his first campaign promises, to close it down and he didn’t. What would you have done?”
“I think you know, with Guantanamo obviously that’s a tricky issue,” Monticello said. “Our general sentiment with this was that when he won we thought that was going to be kind of a watershed moment. And that he was promising to return us to, you know, the American values without having to sacrifice theme for security.”
Asked what has been the most disappointing aspect of Obama’s presidency for him, Newbrough said it wasn’t anything specific, just that, “We were so inspired in 2008 and the campaign, we had so much hope for Obama and what he could do for America and the world, and maybe those were unrealistic expectations.”
“He hasn’t exactly delivered everything we thought he could,” Newbrough said, adding that the video “might not be a fair critique.”
Cho then pointed out that, despite supporting Obama in 2008, neither of the two actually voted for him.
“Some people might say listen, the better way to let your voice be heard, with all due respect, is to cast your ballot,” she said.
“We both agree with that sentiment obviously,” Monticello said. Not voting wasn’t because they weren’t politically engaged, he said, but that they were in college and thought they were registered to vote but weren’t. “We both were swept up in this kind of transformative moment in American history just like so many of our friends.”
“So, are you planning to vote this time and are you planning to support Mitt Romney?” Cho pressed.
“We’ll definitely vote this time,” Newbrough said. “I think both of us are undecided.”
“Undecided?” Cho said, sounding surprised.
“We’re waiting for the debates, for more conversation,” Newbrough replied.
Monticello ended the interview noting the two have received responses ranging from “extreme hate mail to people telling us what a great job on this we did.”
“Everybody can find something in this video that they I think they can find truthful,” Monticello said. “That was really our goal, to be post-partisan in the spirit of the Obama that we used to know.”
Watch the full interview below, via Mediaite. CNN posted its own version of the interview (scroll) that has been trimmed to nearly half its original length and does not include Cho’s Guantanamo questioning.