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Fathers and Daughters:
In Their Own Words
by Mariana Cook
(Discounted Paperback from Amazon)
. "60 Minutes Presents: Obama: All Access- Barack Obama's Road to the White House"

This is a DVD recap of the highlights of a visionary, intelligent man who ascended to the presidency against the odds of history and tradition. To do what he did, he had to break barriers and do verbal and political combat against opponents more seasoned than he. From his official announcement in early 2007, Steve Kroft, reporter for 60-minutes, tracked Obama, piling up footage in interviews and speeches, betting his time and CBS' resources on the unfolding story. That bet paid off in an extensive and much-watched 60-minutes segment and, now, in the historical content of this DVD.

The main menu (called the "Basic Menu") presents Obama's major speeches, beginning with his announcement of candidacy in Springfield, Il on that cold, crisply sunny, February morning in 2007. While this has been exhaustively seen in excerpts, the entirety of it is far more impressive. Seen in the perspective of the final outcome, it becomes obvious that he laid out the themes of his whole campaign as he dynamically presented them on that first day.

By the time you run through all the speeches contained here, you are convinced that this man is as good an orator as any speaker living today--predecessor Bill Clinton included.

The other speeches are:

  • Race (March 18, 2008 - on racial division and the Rev. Wright accusations)
  • Berlin (July 24, 2008)
  • Nomination (August 25, 2008 Democratic Convention)
  • Victory (The night of November 4, 2008 in Chicago's Grand Park)
  • Inauguration (January 20, 2009)

    An auxiliary menu includes additional footage:

  • The 44th President (November 16, 2008)
  • The Road to the White House (December 28, 2008)
  • What You Haven't Seen (outtakes featuring the Obama's in a relaxed, jeans-wearing interview moment, stretched out on a sofa and reflecting on Kroft's questions. Their account of their daughters' reactions to their father's growing importance is a hilariously down-to-earth moment which endears us to this role-model family.

    Seen together, the full speeches gives one a sense of Obama's oratory style and speech structure. It suggests a solid mind, a flexible approach, and a calm, deliberative demeanor capable of humor and a very deep and wide degree of class understanding. Is there a "best" speech? I'd go for the one at the convention as, arguably, most comprehensive and inspiring.

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    The DVD

    It's clear from the proportion of time the media devotes to every moment in the president's day--every day--that the fascination with him, his leadership style and methodology, peeks into his private, unofficial activity, inherent decency and continued high performance rating, that the nation holds a regard toward him that exceeds the attention afforded to any president. One may say he's the most dominant and intriguing personality of the time.

    Anyone with a desire to obtain a fuller prespective of that will want this DVD--that they might look back on the process that led to his occupation of the Oval Office. And to those who suffered the outrages of the Bush occupancy--an obsession is more than understandable. The historic sea change that Obama represents inspires such a massive sigh of relief that it can well set off a tsunami cleansing of government. Would that it will.

    Released: 2/10/09), Runtime: 225 minutes.

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                                          ~~  Jules Brenner  

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