Marijuana activist says Obama campaign using "Harold and Kumar" clip to hide bad policies
Update below: Kal Penn and John Cho, the stars of the Harold and Kumar movies, have been to Colorado multiple times in recent weeks to stump for the Obama campaign, and both appear with the president in a video about Penn hosting Democratic National Convention coverage this week; see it below. However, a national cannabis activist blasts the clip, arguing that it plays off pot cliches that imply Obama's marijuana policies are more progressive than the facts show.
In August, when Westword's Sam Levin spoke with Penn at a campaign event, he asked about marijuana policy. Penn replied that the subject comes up fairly often "because of some of the movies I've done," but he maintained that he didn't know much about Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, or its possible impact on the presidential vote in Colorado.
Levin included these comments in his Penn post -- something the actor didn't appear to enjoy judging by this Twitter exchange:
But while Penn criticized Levin for asking about marijuana, Tom Angell, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, believes a promotional spot hyping the actor's role as DNC-coverage host Thursday on BarackObama.com uses weed as a dishonest subtext.
The video begins with Obama making a phone call and telling the person on the other end of the line about the importance of the job at hand. The scene then transitions to Penn, holding the phone, and Cho sitting in a disheveled apartment watching and hooting at a television. Here's the clip:
The word "marijuana" isn't heard in the ad -- but in Angell's view, such a mention isn't necessary given the way the scene is staged.
"Featuring Harold and Kumar in this web ad, complete with pizza boxes strewn across the table, is a clear allusion to tired, old stoner stereotypes," he notes via e-mail, adding, "Someone in Chicago had a half-baked late night fantasy that this was going to go big on /r/trees on Reddit."
Continue reading for more reactions to the Obama campaign ad from LEAP's Tom Angell.