“By the People,” the HBO documentary by Amy Rice and Alicia Sims, brought together top Obama campaign veterans and the press corps that followed them through the historic 2008 election for a backslapping, bear-hugging reunion at the newly renovated Motion Picture Association of America. HBO President Richard Plepler greeted top White House advisers Anita Dunn, Austan Goolsbee, Dan Pfeiffer, Sarah Feinberg, Bill Burton, Mike Blake, Dag Vega, and Washington’s newest Chicago import Susan Sher, the First Lady’s longtime friend and chief of staff.
The filmmakers’ Obama bus mates were well represented in the 80-plus crowd beginning with bestselling author Richard Wolffe, Obama “original” Juliana Goldman, Lynne Sweet, plus several campaign heavy hitters: Mike Allen, Mark Leibovitch, Jeff Zeleny, and David Jackson.
Representing the 2008 TV and pundit corps: Hilary Rosen, Jonathan Capehart, Betsy Fischer, and David Chalian.
The party went into overdrive when Reggie Love huddled with Richard Plepler; one line formed to take photos with Love and another to shake hands and schmooze with Plepler.
Washington’s elite came out to watch the HBO screening: Ben Bradlee, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, George and Liz Stevens, and Bob Barnett. And all eyes were on Barnett and the HBO chief, as they huddled over their upcoming projects.
Obama media man Jim Margolis and White House Communications Director Anita Dunn spoke after the screening, reminding the crowd that Rice and Sims joined the campaign in 2006. And after an inspiring speech about the campaign, Margolis told how he meticulously prepared for commercial shoots at the critical campaign moment Rice and Sims were always present, whether it was around the campaign office or stepping in a the right moment to get the shot of the candidate who made history. Dunn said the film captured the special feeling of what it was like to work on the campaign and that “there will not be another campaign that was like the Obama 2008 campaign…people felt that they were a part of something much bigger than one individual.”
Reggie Love, who was always one step in front of or behind Obama in the film, attended the screening with two BlackBerry’s in hand, greeting many of those who spent hours covering the candidate or working on the campaign. MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe, who made several appearances in the film, cheered and laughed along with his colleagues as the audience could see through the camera lens the sometimes quiet and sometimes frantic moments of the campaign.
For many it was a chance to relive the excitement of the campaign, for others it was to catch up with Obama people who are now running the country.
“By The People” premieres November 3rd at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.