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By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009)

Nearly a year before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency, two filmmakers began to roll cameras on the young senator. Over the next 19 months, across the USA, the daily events of the presidential campaign are chronicled.



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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Neil Abercrombie ...
Himself (archive footage)
David Axelrod ...
Himself - Chief Campaign Strategist
Bill Ayers ...
Himself (archive footage)
Melissa Bean ...
Herself (archive footage)
Himself - Democrat Vice-Presidential Candidate
Mike Blake ...
Himself - Iowa Political Director
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Ronnie Cho ...
Himself - Organizer
Herself - Democrat Candidate (as Hillary Rodham Clinton)
Himself (as James E. Clyburn)
Candy Crowley ...
Herself - HSCNN


In 2006, Barack Obama -- a largely unknown freshman senator from Illinois -- hits the campaign trail in a struggle to gain national recognition. Cameras follow Obama as he recovers from nearly losing to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries and meets the challenge of his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, in the general election. After a hard-fought campaign, Obama successfully captures the nation's imagination, becoming the first African-American president in U.S. history. Written by Jwelch5742

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The Election of Barack Obama




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Release Date:

7 August 2009 (USA)  »

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By the People  »

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29 April 2016 | by See all my reviews

This is a behind-the-scene of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign. It starts with him watching the mid-term election in 2006. He would announce a few months later. This follows the campaign all the way to the night of victory.

This is in the same vein as the great documentary "The War Room (1993)" which followed Bill Clinton's campaign. It is inferior in a couple of ways. It's been done before. It's now more or less a historical document at this point. I would have loved one for W. The other problem is the limited drama.

This one follows more with people further down the food chain. "The War Room" followed James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. They were great characters near the top of the food chain. This one is a lot of (to quote Palin) Hopey Changey thing. It follows organizer Ronnie Cho who is representative of the ground troops. The upper level stuff is never quite so compelling. It feels like we're just outside of the war room. It might also be Obama's calm persona injecting into his campaign or that everybody is tapping away at their Blackberry. This is a nice recount of the campaign. I can't help but wonder if Hilary's campaign has a more compelling behind-the-scenes movie.

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