October 26 2012
Outrage over the Obama campaign's new sex-suggesting "your first time" campaign video is building on the internet and among family groups upset that the double-entendre is a signal the president endorses easy sex among college students.
While the punchline of the ad is voting, the star of the video, Lena Dunham, creator of the raunchy HBO hit series "Girls," sounds like she is comparing her first vote to losing her virginity in college. "Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy," she says, ignoring that a presidential candidate could be a woman. "Before I was a girl. Now I was a woman," she cooed, after voting for Obama.
The internet blew up with sometimes angry reaction. "Has POTUS shown his daughters [the] ad?" one critic tweeted. "I'd be offended if my daughter heard that trashy ad," said another on a Twitter page created to discuss the ad, "#myfirsttime." A third: "Dems claim 'binders full of women' is offensive. Then compare voting to being deflowered? What the hell are they smoking?"
One group, Pro Life Artists Unite, moved fast to develop a counter image of Dunham with the words: "Don't lose your job because of an unwanted Presidency." They also offered up a new Twitter channel, #obamaabstinence.
A Democratic strategist said that the video should be effective in wooing the college vote, but a GOP campaign advisor said Obama, who appears on MTV Friday, already has the youth vote locked up and the ad is likely to offend some of their parents.
Family groups and anti-abortion advocates were especially critical.
"I guess we shouldn't be surprised by an administration that has openly promoted promiscuity, abortion on demand, and the redefinition of marriage," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told Secrets.
He also knocked Obama's campaign for loosely copying the ad from one used by Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I find it disturbing that President Obama would follow Vladimir Putin's lead and release an ad that only further coarsens the public discourse," he said.
Gary Bauer, president of the traditional values group American Values, said, "So the president now wants to seduce young women by asking them to 'do it' -- vote-- for the first time with him. I hope parents will talk to their daughters and tell them about the sweet-talking men who promise girls the world in order to have their way with them, only to abandon them the next morning, when the girls realize that the empty promises were just part of the seduction."
Others chimed in. "It is deeply disturbing that a father of two young girls could approve such a demeaning ad," added Lila Rose of the anti-abortion group Live Action. "President Obama's latest campaign ad is a desperate and an offensive stereotype. Again, his campaign reduces women and their concern of political issues to sex and birth control," she added.
"The recent ad by President Obama that compares voting to losing your virginity is distasteful and demeaning to women. This is a desperate campaign willing to stoop to any depth, including using female sexuality in a profane way," said Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.
"If the White House thinks all women are this way, this is utterly sexist. Would they make an ad like this for men if Michelle were running against Ann Romney? No. Not only do they demean sex, they make women out to be downright silly about it," said Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum.
Some said it was the wrong approach to woo college students who face disproportionately high unemployment.
"Campaigns and their messages reflect great insight into the character and judgment of the candidate they represent - and this cynical ad smacks of pure condescension toward women," Paul Conway, president of the youth-focused Generation Opportunity told Secrets.
"The president and his team lack empathy and understanding for their concerns. Under his economic plan, young women are currently experiencing an 11.6 percent unemployment level, and 50 percent of those with college degrees are either unemployed or underemployed," added Conway, a former Bush Labor Department chief of staff. "If the president keeps running this ad, he will be working even harder to lose his share of that 11 percent and adding to the millions of other Millennial voters who have already rejected against his policies."
The text of Obama's ad:
Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy with beautiful ... somebody who really cares about and understands women.
A guy who cares about whether you get health insurance, and specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge. You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq. You don't want a guy who says, "Oh hey, I'm at the library studying," when he's really out not signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
Or who thinks that gay people should never have beautiful, complicated weddings of the kind we see on Bravo or TLC all the time. It's a fun game to say, "Who are you voting for?" and they say "I don't want to tell you," and you say, "No, who are you voting for," and they go, "Guess!"
Think about how you want to spend those four years. In college age time, that's 150 years. Also, it's super uncool to be out and about and someone says, "Did you vote," and "No, I didn't vote, I wasn't ready."
My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before I was a girl. Now I was a woman. I went to the polling station and pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama.