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Students take on US Presidential candidates to win a seat at Obama's inauguration



19 November 2012

US President Barack Obama wasn't the only winner at the US presidential election: three University of Sydney students will fly to Washington DC in January to see Obama's 2013 inauguration, thanks to a competition run by the US Studies Centre.

In the 'Create Your Own Campaign Ad' competition, third year Arts students Elgar Welch and Daniel Best produced a clever anti-Romney spot to book their tickets to America's capital. Watch the video above.

Elgar, who is a Government and International Relations major, says his degree sparked his interest in US politics and both he and Daniel were excited at the chance to see the President in the flesh.

"We're psyched about the opportunity," Elgar said. "Daniel has never been to the US and we're both very keen to see Obama."

Welch says they came up with the idea after watching some other campaign ads on YouTube and following the increasingly negative trajectory of both the Democrats and Republicans.

"We chose to go negative as it was both the most fun and engaging way for us, but also because negative ads work best," he said.

"Some of the things said in American ads, you couldn't get away with that here. We used that freedom to make something that was a bit more risqué than an Australian ad."

The ad, which took them about three hours to shoot and a day to edit, was filmed on a smartphone and made use of the wealth of campaign material available on YouTube to skewer Republican Mitt Romney with his own words.

"We tried to make the point that he would be a wrecker in office rather than a creator," said Elgar. "We wanted to point out his contradictions and his attacks on the middle class."

One of the judges of the competition, US Studies Centre elections analyst Luke Freedman, says the ad was a great example of negative campaigning.

"Not only was the ad well produced and engaging, but it effectively used the hallmarks of the genre to produce a highly credible attack ad," he said. "We had lots of great entrants but this one really stood out."

Also announced this week was the winner of the Centre's 'Pick the President' competition, with University of Sydney student David Bloomfield correctly guessing Obama's final electoral college vote of 332 and getting within 314,000 of the total popular vote count to win.

All three students will be at Obama's inauguration on 21 January 2013 as the re-elected President takes the Oval Office for four more years.

To find out more about the competitions and get the latest post-election analysis, visit the Centre's Election Watch 12 page.

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Contact: Max Halden - US Studies Centre

Phone: 02 9036 9137

Email: 08361a01112e5d5d543b033e103d200e144b5c3504580f0f70