Beyonce praises Michelle Obama in new campaign ad. Will that win votes? (+video)(Read article summary)
Beyonce stars in a new campaign ad reading a letter that praises First Lady Michelle Obama as a 'truly strong African-American woman.' According to a Gallup poll, Mrs. Obama is more popular than her husband.
In the letter Beyonce praises Mrs. Obama as ‚Äúthe ultimate example of a truly strong African-American woman‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúNo matter the pressure and the stress of being under the microscope she‚Äôs humble, loving and sincere. . . she builds and nurtures her family while also looking out for so many millions in so many ways,‚ÄĚ says the Grammy-winning performer.
How did the campaign get Beyonce to do this? It wasn‚Äôt hard, apparently ‚Äď she and the First Lady have had a mutual admiration society for some time. Beyonce performed at the presidential inauguration in 2009. Michelle took daughters Malia and Sasha to see a Beyonce concert earlier this year, and in May the First Lady told People magazine that if she could be anyone else, it would be You Know Who.
‚ÄúGosh if I had some gift I‚Äôd be Beyonce, I‚Äôd be some great singer,‚ÄĚ said FLOTUS.
Of course, not everyone thinks that the White House-celebrity culture link is a good one. Republicans have run a number of ads portraying the president as show-business wannabe who doesn‚Äôt understand the problems of regular non-Grammy winning folks. When Obama attended a fundraiser in May at actor George Clooney‚Äôs house, the Republican National Committee put out a press release saying the ‚Äúcelebrity-in-chief‚ÄĚ was raising big Hollywood bucks from his celebrity pals.
That said, we‚Äôll note that the Beyonce ad does not appear to be designed for wide release. It‚Äôs on the campaign‚Äôs YouTube channel, and online ads tend to be aimed at narrow, specific audiences. It‚Äôs probable that the Obama folks will be promoting this by email among demographic groups to which they believe it would appeal. That means young voters, single women, and women in general, most likely.
We‚Äôd also hold that the real star of this ad is not Beyonce, but Michelle Obama. Sure, the singer appears at several moments, reciting her letter aloud, but most of the ad is devoted to video of the First Lady doing First Lady stuff ‚Äď talking, dancing, traveling, and so forth. It‚Äôs FLOTUS who gets all the action shots.
That‚Äôs in keeping with the Obama team‚Äôs recent use of the First Lady as something of a campaign secret weapon. While the media obsesses about Obama‚Äôs attacks on Mitt Romney‚Äôs time at Bain, Mrs. Obama has been traveling the country in recent days, raising money and making campaign stops on her own.
On Sunday, for instance, she appeared at a fundraiser in Pocantico Hills, New York. Her remarks were full of references to ‚Äúfamily, ‚Äúgrandparents," and so forth. The First Lady held forth at length about her own life story growing up on the South Side of Chicago.
As other commentators have noted, Mrs. Obama has become one of the campaign‚Äôs primary weapons for outreach to the middle class. Perhaps that‚Äôs because she‚Äôs more popular than her husband. A Gallup poll from May 30 puts her favorability ratings at 66 percent ‚Äď 14 points better than the president‚Äôs figure.