ABCNews.go.com has the story:
President Obama’s newest campaign commercial was filmed inside the West Wing of the White House, an act that campaign finance experts and good government groups generally agreed was legal if not particularly commendable.
In the ad, the president – sitting in the White House chief of staff’s office – lays out his view of the choice voters face this November.
White House officials confirmed that the ad was filmed in the Chief of Staff’s office after ABC News inquired about it, a reporter having recognized the décor. Officials denied there was any concern about the propriety of the president being filmed inside the West Wing in a campaign ad, noting that previous presidents had done so.
Staffers for President George W. Bush say they expressly avoided filming campaign ads within the West Wing itself, though they were under the impression that the White House Residence and outside the West Wing building – the Colonnade — were regarded as acceptable. Myriad Bush 2004 ads featured him walking in the Colonnade.
Previous presidents saw no such lines. When President Bill Clinton ran for re-election in 1996 he was featured in the Oval Office. President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 convention documentary featured the Oval Office and the Roosevelt Room.
He also had his own ad offering his view of the choice voters faced in November 1984, shot sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office itself.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford was filmed working with his top advisers in the Oval Office itself and speaking directly to camera in an interview with a tell-tale curving wall behind him.
Four years later, President Jimmy Carter was filmed in the Oval Office for a reelection ad.
Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, said the Obama appearance was legal, but it was “an unwise politicization of the highest office in the land.”
“I find it a bit disturbing that he would do it in the West Wing office,” McGehee said. “The Residence is different. Repurposing previous footage is different. But filming in a West Wing office – it may not be precedent-setting but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.”
Others agreed. “Given that it’s not a solicitation, there’s no specific prohibition against it,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government. “Whether it’s the best idea, I think that’s a separate question. Americans like to think the West Wing is sacrosanct and used only for official business.”
The Obama White House has never exactly been known for its class and decorum…nor for long hours spent in the Oval Office.
While President Reagan would get into the Oval Office at the crack of dawn, Obama arrives at 10:00 a.m…the crack of brunch.
And, while Reagan always wore a suit coat or sports jacket while working in the Oval Office, out of respect…Obama wears a shirt…with the sleeves rolled up.
While other presidents would have beautiful Christmas trees with ornaments of silver and gold, Obama had one with ornaments of Chairman Mao.
While Reagan said
This is the last day of Small Business Week, so I’d like to mark the occasion by speaking about the importance of entrepreneurs and how we’re trying to help them.
When you think about it, every week should be Small Business Week, because America is small business. Small firms account for nearly half our jobs; they create some 60 percent of new jobs; and they’re on the cutting edge of innovation, providing products and ideas for the future. Everything from ballpoint pens to FM-radios, automatic transmissions and helicopters was conceived in the minds of entrepreneurs-men and women who had the spirit to dream impossible dreams, take great risks, and work long hours to make their dreams come true.
…Entrepreneurs have always been leaders in America. They led the rebellion against excessive taxation and regulation. They and their offspring pushed back the frontier, transforming the wilderness into a land of plenty. Their knowledge and contributions have sustained us in wartime, brought us out of recessions, carried our astronauts to the Moon, and led American industry to new frontiers of high technology.
We came to Washington confident that this small business spirit could make America well and get our economy moving again. Well, it’s working. And we want to keep on using that special principle of giving by putting America’s destiny back into the people’s hands, providing you new incentives to save, invest, and take risks, so more wealth will be created at every level of our society.
We know small business is ready. That group fared better during the recent recession, laid off less workers than big business, and will recover faster. Over the last 2 years, you heard about the high rate of small business failures. You heard about it over and over again. What you didn’t hear very often was that in 1981 a record 580,000 new businesses were formed. And 560,000 new enterprises were begun in 1982. They’re the seeds of lasting recovery.
…Governments don’t reduce deficits by raising taxes on the people. Governments reduce deficits by controlling spending and stimulating new wealth, wealth from investments of brave people with hope for the future, trust in their fellow man, and faith in God.
If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
So, given Obama’s history during his first and only (please, Lord) term, there’s only one thing I have to say about him doing something as classless as shooting a campaign commercial in the Oval Office:
I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked.