This Came From the President of the United States?


President Barack Obama, official portrait

In a new low for campaign ads, President Obama’s campaign released an ad in which actress Lena Dunham likens voting for Obama to losing her virginity.

The President’s campaign ad uses a juxtaposition of double entendres to create the impression that the actress is talking about sex.

“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody.” she says. “You want it to be with a great guy. Somebody who cares about and understand women.

“Who cares about whether or not you get health insurance, specifically if you get birth control … you don’t want to do it with a guy who doesn’t think that gay people should never have beautiful and complicated weddings of the kind we see on Bravo and TLC.”

Further on she adds, “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.”

In what appears to be an effort to heap sleaze on top of creepy, Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina announced the ad by tweeting “Your first time voting is important. Trust @lenadunham — you are ready.”

I am not going to link to the ad and I don’t encourage you to go to it. I have no interest in pushing this. The ad is clever, and it does grab you at first. The actress does a good job and the production is good. However, it’s content is trashy and demeaning to women.

The idea for it is also copied from someone else’s work. According to a LifeSiteNews article, the ad concept appears to mimic an ad used by Vladimir Putin in his last campaign.

I watched it and thought: This came from the President of the United States?


  • Michael Bresk

    Yes, and Ronald Reagan did it as well.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Can you give more details?

      • Dan

        ““I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.”” – Ronald Reagan, 1980

      • ChineseWhiteGuy

        No, he can’t. He read that someplace online and repeated it here because he’s a pseudo-intellectual pawn. Reagan said something about the first time you pull the lever to vote Republican that it can be a bit unneasy. In my opinion, only a pervert would find Reagan’s comment as blatantly sexual.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          I agree with your point — it’s a loooonnnnngggggg stretch to equate the two. But, please, ease back on the language a little. I don’t see the connection myself, but that doesn’t mean I want to call anyone’s sexuality into question if they do.

        • Kate

          Are you kidding? Reagan’s is blatantly sexual. It only hurts for a minute and then feels great? The ‘hurts for a minute’ definitely describes a girl’s first time. Then it feels great? That’s a man’s optimistic viewpoint.

    • courtobserver

      To equate this add with Reagan’s statement is and incredible stretch. And, how is it even relevant? Condemn or defend the Obama add on its own merits.

  • Mark

    Are we prudes? Does sex have to be be filthy our is it something that is natural? It may surprise you, but we adults all know how your baby was made.

    I was expecting something dirty. She made some good points.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I think it’s demeaning to women to imply — as has been done a lot in this election — that our only concerns are reproductive. You don’t see ads with young men putting them in this narrow definition of who they are. It appears that sexualizing women is so endemic that even the President does it to win an election.

      Also, this ad is, in my opinion, beneath the dignity of the office of President of the United States. Way, way beneath it.

    • Kelly

      Mark, you expected something filthy, but she made some good points? “Your first time should be with a great guy?” As voting is a solitary endeavor, does she mean that everyone should be escorted to the polling place by “a great guy”? (And it has to be a “guy”? – someone should have told Hillary) The ad is a gratuitous attempt to lure young people to the voting booth by capturing their attention in the wrong way. The ad clearly demonstrates the lack of integrity of those writing it, and a severe lapse of moral judgement of those allowing it to be shown. If the President wants to advocate for birth control and “reproductive rights” for women, than that is his prerogative – but should he need to hide behind a giggly, young “girl turned woman” to do it?

  • Ronnie Barzel

    From TalkingPointsMemo, which itself has a link to the Washington Post’s 1980 story.

  • Mike

    Yes, don’t watch the ad yourself. Trust me to make all of your decisions for you. I know what’s right and wrong. I don’t want your fragile little minds exposed to such filth. That’s exactly what Satan wants so that he can take over your mind and make you do evil things. Like vote for Obama.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Watch it if you want. Vote for whom you want.

    • Anna Dawson

      You’re very well able to look it up on your own. But, seeing as Rep. Hamilton has already said it’s trash and beneath decency, why then would she provide you the means to demean yourself that much more easily? Wanna see the trash, YouTube it.

  • Jim Terwiliger

    “I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.” -Ronald Reagan

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I don’t see it as the same thing.

      • Jim Terwiliger

        Religion is what stupid people use to try and stay relevant in society. They have no logic capability so they quote some arcane statement from thousands of years ago to feel better about their lack of understanding.

        • Marcelle Bartolo-Abela

          That’s an interesting assumption, Jim. I am professional woman, highly educated and believe wholeheartedly in religion. Does that make me (1) stupid, (2) irrelevant and (3) without logical capabilities? If so, pray enlighten me on how I managed to attain my degrees – and I did so with distinction – since I’m ‘stupid, irrelevant and incapable of logic.’ Thank you for your time.

  • Mike

    Fake ad. Made up story. There is no proof of this ad anywhere

  • Bruce Parmele
  • Listeningin

    “On Thursday night, at a working class bar in Bayonne, N.J., Reagan said, “I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.”

  • Jaye Kaye

    Makes a female look stupid

  • griffin

    This ad is trashy and demeaning to women? Against a party who somehow cannot stop comparing being raped to a gift, something that was meant to be, or a picnic on a rainy day? Yeah.

    • courtobserver

      You should support or condemn this add on its merits alone. What someone else may or may not have done is irrelevant. This is a common tactic of people who try to defend the indefensible… Obama and his record.

  • Paul D

    Reagan did not endorse an ad, he did make a joke though. What Reagan was trying to do in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio was to harvest usually Democratic blue-collar votes — the consistent target of his personal campaigning in the Great Lakes states. Whenever he is near voters who might possibly be Democrats, Reagan likes to remind them that he came from that side of the political tracks.

    On Thursday night, at a working class bar in Bayonne, N.J., Reagan said, “I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.”

  • arkenaten

    I agree, it is demeaning. Nothing more than a cheap shot. Corny as hell and not really funny.
    As Forest Gump said. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Mary Christine

    I don’t think anyone can imagine what he will do when he is no longer running for office, if this is what he does when he is trying to impress. I hope I don’t ever get to see the kind of “flexibility” he promised Putin.

  • Dawn Berkley

    The dumbest ad ever. I was so embarrassed by the stupidity that I cringed and couldn’t watch the whole thing. Unbelievably bad. Why do the democrats treat women like we are a bunch of morons?

  • Mathew

    To be honest, that’s exactly the type of unclassy behavior I have come to expect from the Hollywood crowd. Take what is an important, sacred, private, personal component of marital intimacy and show disdain and disrespect for it — cheapen it — by poorly and publicly implementing it as an analogy in a last-minute campaign ad. It doesn’t surprise me that the same level of bad taste and absence of class would be exhibited by a politician who is so prevalently supported by the same bunch of people.

    Women, human sexuality, the American people, and the office of president are all worthy of far better respect than this.

  • http://Facebook Joanne Flynn

    Did Obama himself actually approve this message? I’m far from a prude, but it seems out of character from him.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It was put out through his campaign and announced by his campaign manager.

  • jessicarenshaw

    Dear Rebecca,
    I want to apologize for losing touch with your blog. I thought “Public Catholic” went out of business when you went to Patheos so I canceled my subscription–but every time I tried to sign up with Patheos I was put off by all the ads, pop-ups, links, and other publications, at least one of which it seemed to insist I had to sign up for. Thank you for being so faithful in coming to hiddeninjesus.wordpress and supporting my posts. I hope I have signed up properly this time to resume receiving yours by email. I will catch up with those I missed. I have such respect for you!

    While I’ve been away, your blog has apparently been a lightning rod for a lot of angry people. I’m sorry they are taking it out on you for simply taking a reasoned and articulate stand for your beliefs. However patiently you deal with them, that must hurt. It seems significant that of commenters above who are not abiding by your rules of engagement (“No name calling. No cursing. No hitting. No spitting.”), all but a couple identify themselves with male names–with the exception of Mathew, a shining light!– and all seem angry. Since you deal primarily with women’s issues, it seems like women’s opinions of these things would be more instructive. Instead, the comments seem to have been taken over by a pack of savage wolves who hate women, Christians, and Republicans. Why don’t you screen your comments, not to prevent those which are critical but those which are personally abusive?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Jessica, I try to screen, but they get ahead of me. What you see here are the most courteous of the lot. You should see the others. I have literally hundreds of deletes, many of them calling me things that my mother told me never to call anybody. My trash file blushes with shame over what I put into almost every day.

      • neenergyobserver

        You know how much I admire you Rebecca, not least for the amount of abuse I’ve always assumed you take here and elsewhere. I probably don’t say it as often as I should but you are definitely a voice of reasoned, civil discourse, when I disagree with you, which happens occasionally :-) surprisingly rarely, actually, it’s always been for valid, rational reasons and that’s why I pay close attention to you.

        One thing Mom taught me that I still use to guide me is that people who argue by demeaning, calling names, and other personal attacks basically value themselves very lowly and one should not lightly disagree with a persons self assessment.

        Have a blessed Sunday, and take care of that foot.

        The ad: a disgusting, demeaning travesty. showing nothing but disrespect for women and little more for anyone else.

  • Biltrix

    Yep. This is not where the oval office is headed. This is where it’s at.

    Cheers, Rebecca.

  • Bill S

    I’m not that impressed with the ad. I don’t take offense to it. But what’s the point?

    People who enjoy the ad were going to vote for Obama anyway. People offended by it were going to vote for Romney anyway.

    I guess it’s just to get out the vote. In that respect, it probably works a little bit.

  • Béatrice Fedor

    The interesting thing about this ad is that when you read the comments on Youtube, virtually all the Obama supporters deny that it is about sex and seem offended when it is suggested. I wonder why?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That’s interesting. I got a slug of angry comments from Obama supporters the day I put this up. Most of them were just calling me names. Ironically, a lot of them used offensive sexual names for women to do it. :-(

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    I think Bill S has it about right, at least for direct responses.

    On the side, or the rebound, surely there is a large peripheral effect of people thinking that prudish critics are unpleasant, humorless, inappropriate, “don’t get it,” and so forth?

    Maybe that’s a bit of what “judge not that ye be not judged” ia all about?


  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Actually, that is typical of the Jeckyll and Hyde aspect of Obama and his politics. His activities are aggressive and vulgar, he has some of the nastiest and most dishonest secretaries in the history of America – look at Eric Holder and Jean Sebelius – and yet he is often able to come across so convincingly as reasonable, civilized, and decent, that people simply cannot connect. Read his very fine speech for the victims of the Gaby Giffords massacre: not only is there not a drop of the partisanship that is the daily meat and drink of his group, but he finds eloquent and fitting words to praise people who, like the conservative judge who was among the dead, would be the natural enemies of any Obama followers. That is what is so disconcerting about the man.