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Obama team releases full 17-minute campaign 'documentary'

The mini-movie, titled "The Road We've Traveled" and narrated by actor Tom Hanks, takes a somber look at the president's first three years in office and aims to portray Obama as a leader who took charge during a time of crisis.

"Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president, and when he faced his country, who looked to him for answers, he would not dwell in blame," says Hanks in the video.

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The film, which opens with a spotlight on the 2008 financial crisis, features interviews with Bill Clinton, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, former Obama economic adviser Elizabeth Warren, Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee, all of whom praise the president's leadership.

It showcases the Obama administration's response to the mortgage crisis and the president's decision to push national healthcare reform, as well as his decision to carry out the Navy SEAL raid that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. 

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, who directed "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Waiting for 'Superman,' " as well as helped produce a 30-minute campaign video for Obama in 2008, was tapped to direct the extended ad.

Guggenheim told CNN last week that he couldn’t find a negative side of the president’s first term to put in the new film.

“The negative for me was there were too many accomplishments,” Guggenheim told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “I had 17 minutes to put them all in there.”

The reelection team bet big on this Obama portrayal, paying about $20,300 per minute for the 17-minute film, Federal Election Commission records show.

Two payments totaling about $345,000 were reported by the campaign in November and January for “Guggenheim Short Film,” with the address listed belonging to Guggenheim Productions Inc., in Washington.

According to the campaign, the "documentary" is an effort to push Obama’s message without waiting for Republicans to choose a nominee to run against. However, in it, Emanuel does criticize GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney by name for his reaction to the auto bailouts in the movie.

"A lot of conventional wisdom wanted to do what Mitt Romney did — 'Let it go, can't be saved, why put good money after bad?' " says Emanuel.

The former Massachusetts governor hit back Friday morning, telling "Fox and Friends" that, in fact, "The Detroit auto companies did go bankrupt.

"That's the reason they're back on their feet today. I said from the very beginning they needed to go through a managed-bankruptcy process to get rid of their excess costs … they've finally done that and that's why they're back up on their feet today, so Rahm needs to brush up on the facts, I'm afraid," Romney said.

The auto-industry bailouts became a huge campaign issue leading up to February's Michigan primary and are sure to be a major theme for the Obama campaign in the general election.

The Obama camp has been promoting the film's release since earlier this month when it put out a Hollywood-style trailer to entice viewers. Obama's campaign, which is known for capitalizing on social media to connect with voters, live-streamed the premiere on its YouTube channel Thursday night and then released it to the public.

Axelrod was also made available for Twitter questions from the hashtag #RoadTraveled following the online premiere.

The release came on a day when both Obama and Vice President Biden hit hard against their Republican rivals in two separate speeches. Obama slammed the GOP field without naming names in an energy speech to a favorable crowd at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., on Thursday.

"If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society," he said of his rivals' energy proposals.

Following the video's release, Obama hits the campaign trail attending at least four campaign events in two states Friday.