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The Use of Metaphors in Barack Obama’s Campaign AD

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This Obama Campaign ad, “The Choice” is a political advertisement that was paid for by “Obama for America” and authorized by President Barack Obama for the 2012 Presidential Campaign. This one-minute video was directed to the American voters regarding President Obama and United States Governor Mitt Romney plans for the improvement of our country. This political ad supported a few metaphors; Metaphors can be explained by George Lakoff and Mark Leonard Johnson in the book “Metaphors We Live By”, the authors explain that metaphors, “is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are ‘metaphors we live by’ metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing them. “

Obama ethos has been recognized throughout the accomplishments made within his first term. However, the tone of this ad seems to wants to get away from all the political attacks given by the other candidates and give the audience a simple choice, but an important choice. The music and the softer tone from Obama, creates a comforting connection for the audience. This is very effective when approaching the voters.

‘Over the next four months, you have a choice to make. (Slight Pause) Not just between two political parties or even two people. (Another Slight Pause) It’s a choice between two very different plans for our country says President Obama while the president looks at the camera and sits in a chair in what appeared to be a room in the White House. This is a metaphor that states that your choice is important and is needed to decide the plans for the future of our country. The President’s job is to make America safe. He can make decisions without your or congress’ consent; most importantly, he acts as Commander in Chief. The two very different plans discussed by President Obama in this ad is the Income Tax Proposals by Governor Romney and President Obama.

President Obama says that, “Governor Romney’s plan would cut taxes for the folks at the very top, roll back regulations on big banks, and he says that if we do our economy will grow and everyone will benefit.” As the camera Zoomed in at the President, President Obama said, “But you know what? We tried that top-down approach. It’s what caused the mess in the first place.” When President Obama says, “Top-down approach” he means Romneys plan of will cut taxes for high-income households, known as the rich. This metaphor means, that the economic issues that are taken place within our country now is because of the past policies that started the problem by the previous presidents decades ago, and Mitt Romney is trying to recreate the same plans. President Obamas word choice of “we” establishes a connection between himself and his audience.

“I believe the only way to create an economy built to last is to strengthen the middle class. Asking the wealthy to pay a little more so we can pay down our debt in a balanced way. So that we can afford to invest in education, manufacturing, and homegrown American energy for good middle-class jobs.’ said President Obama while the video shows a clip of President Obama sitting in what appeared to be a middle-class household talking to voters. The next few videos are clips of the President Signing papers, talking to teachers, hugging an employee at a manufacturing company, and a video of him next to solar panels. When the President says “Strengthen middle-class” he means that no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. The President wants to ask the wealthy to pay more so that we can get of the economic debt and help in the areas that need it the most. This ad, President Obama generally uses pathos to appeal to his audience. He shows the audience that he cares for the people of this country.

President Obama’s concludes that, “Sometimes politics can seem very small. But the choice you face, it couldn’t be bigger.” This metaphor states that there’s one choice but that one choice is an important decision that the country will face at that time. Romney believes the economic top, very successful, very rich people are the engine of the economy. Obama thinks public investment can jump-start an economic recovery based in the middle class. Obama wants to let you know that you have a choice. The length of the ad and the Kairos are also very important, not a lot of information can be used given the length of the video, so President Obama concentrates on what he believes is important to his audience without losing their attention.

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The Use of Metaphors in Barack Obama’s Campaign Ad. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 27, 2021, from
“The Use of Metaphors in Barack Obama’s Campaign Ad.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020,
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