Multimedia CD-ROM Captures Clinton Campaign

By Padgett, Lauree | Information Today, April 1993 | Go to article overview

Multimedia CD-ROM Captures Clinton Campaign


Padgett, Lauree, Information Today


Calling all SOBs (Supporters of Bill, as in Clinton, and you know who you are). Warner New Media, in association with Epicenter Communications and Amazing Media, has something you may want. It's a new multimedia, photojournalistic CD-ROM that chronicles Bill Clinton's run for the White House, from the then Arkansas governor's entry into the presidential race, through to the new President-elect's jubilant acceptance speech 13 months later. Called Clinton: Portrait of Victory, the CD-ROM is a collection of text, audio and images (and on the Mac version, film video) based upon Time magazine's award-winning photographer P. F. Bentley's often candid snapshots of Clinton, wife Hillary, daughter Chelsea, running mate Al Gore, and Clinton aids, strategists and long-time friends as they work their way across the U.S. through primaries, Gennifer Flowers, the draft bruhaha, the Democratic National Convention, and the final whirlwind days of the campaign.

With the candidate's full cooperation, photojournalist Bentley traveled with the Clinton entourage, able to capture the private moments and stories that no one else on the campaign trail could. Added to the public stops and personal appearances that Bentley also photographed, Clinton: Portrait of Victory provides a complete profile of Clinton's boundless resilience as he dodges would-be setbacks and stands up to scandals, winning over enough Americans along the way to vote him and his call for change into the White House.

Divided into three major themes, "The Assignment," "The Candidate," and "The Campaign," the CD-ROM looks through the camera lens at a wide range of events that contributed, sometimes hindered, but never stopped Bill Clinton from realizing his lifelong dream of becoming president of the United States. Enhancing Bentley's photographs are an audio and text prologue by Vanity Fair and The New Republic contributing editor Roger Rosenblatt, captions by Rebecca B. Taylor, executive editor for Epicenter, and an epilogue by Michael Kramer, chief political correspondent for Time. Original music composed and performed by Keith Metzer is also heard throughout the disc.

Each main theme of Clinton: Portrait of Victory is made up of several categories. In "The Assignment," viewers can go "Behind the Scenes" or examine "The Image Mysterious" with short photograph montages. Roger Rosenblatt's text "In Black and White" is here as well, delving into the idiosyncrasies and ironies of how the public saw the campaign and some of the prevalent issues that made the headlines. Within "Bentley's Craft," viewers catch more private glimpses of the candidate as as narrative captions explain each photo. For instance, when shown a shot of Clinton in the sauna, viewers learn that this "steamy" scene took place during the Democratic Convention as Clinton tried to moisten up his battered vocal chords shortly before accepting his party's nomination. These shots also give the camera buff detailed information about how the photograph was taken - the lens used, film speed, exposure time, etc. The last sub-entry, "On Location," is itself split into three photo collages of "Dogged Pursuit," "The Drill," and "Going Home."

Out of the three themes, "The Candidate" hones in most on the Clinton persona and mystique, but also digs beyond the public image. Michael Kramer's "On Being Tough," which amasses 14 screens of text, studies the tenacity that kept Clinton going when everyone - from pundits to pollsters, Republicans and Democrats, and foes and supporters alike - thought he was finished. Kramer writes about Clinton's trademark pursed lip that could signal deep thought, extreme satisfaction, or consuming anger, and emphasizes examples of the times Clinton's toughness withstood the mightiest blows, while also revealing a tender side of Clinton seldom seen by the general populace. In "From His Speeches," separated into "The Declaration," "Victory I," "Victory II" and "Victory III," viewers can hear actual excerpts from Clinton's speeches and addresses, while watching related photo selections.

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