While many Mitt Romney supporters had their televisions tuned in to his speech Thursday night, some will have to watch it at a later date, because they were busy watching something else.
About two dozen members of the Kern County Young Republicans watched 2016: Obama's America (Rocky Mountain Pictures) in southwest Bakersfield Thursday night. 2016 is a controversial documentary exploring President Obama's upbringing, family history, and beliefs, before asking how these could shape a possible second term.
It started off modestly, premiering in a single theater in Houston. However, last weekend it appeared in over 1,000 theaters across the nation. It grossed over $6 million last weekend and is still drawing new viewers, eager to see what the buzz is about, including members of the Kern County Young Republicans.
"I've heard it offers a great perspective into the man Barack Obama is, who he was, and where he came from," said Young Republicans member Javier Reyes, Jr.
Critics say the movie is mere propaganda.
"It's not factual-based. It's opinion," said Gene Tackett, a Democratic political consultant. "Coincidentally, and I'm being facetious, it's only two months out from the election."
In published reviews, critics say many of those paying to see the documentary already have their minds made up about who they're voting for in November.
As one Young Republican watching the film Thursday night told us:
"Well we wanted to learn more about Obama, see why we need to vote against him again, and hopefully get him out this time of office," said Bryan Williams.
While the film may not convert many people, political experts say it has shown it has the ability to fire up the conservative base. They say it could inspire conservatives who aren't excited about Mitt Romney to show up in November just to vote against the incumbent.
"What you want to do with this kind of propaganda is get people to actually vote," said Tackett. "In this way, it's a negative vote. But, a lot of votes in politics are negative or against someone. And, this would get someone fired up to vote against the President."
The film's co-directors say they hope to continue to expand the film's presence in the upcoming weeks.
It was showing in just over 1,000 theaters last weekend. They hope to take that number to 1,500 this weekend.