DETROIT – As President Obama was making media rounds Sunday to promote his health care plan, he was also receiving a thumbs-up in Detroit from filmmaker Michael Moore.
Moore appeared at multiple preview screenings of his forthcoming documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story," after which he also answered questions from audience members.
“I have to tell you, I’ve been overjoyed since Nov. 4 [Election Day],” Moore said. “I saw Barack Obama’s name on the ballot and I started to cry. I couldn’t believe his name was on the ballot, and I was about to vote for him, and there was a good chance that in a few hours he was going to be the president.”
Moore’s new film, which addresses societal devastation and rampant corruption that capitalism has spawned in America during recent decades, also re-visits the health care topic that was explored in his last work, "Sicko."
While disagreeing with some aspects of Obama’s plan, Moore told one group of previewers that the president needs help. “We need to have his back. We need to be out there supporting him.
“I believe that the impossible can happen and that we are basically good at our core. …But it can’t just be one filmmaker or one guy running for president. It has to be a movement of the people.”
In vintage Moore fashion, "Capitalism: A Love Story" finds the native of Flint, Mich., which is 90 minutes north of Detroit, doing on-location interviews throughout the country. Moore visits those characterized as victims of capitalism, including a Peoria couple losing their home and farm to foreclosure. Moore also tries to confront corporate fat cats who benefited from the bank and automotive government bailouts. He doesn’t get past security – as is the case when he’s met on the front steps of the very General Motors headquarters that houses the commercial theater of Sunday’s screening. With cameras rolling, Moore is refused entry; he told Sunday’s audience that he was forbidden to attend his own premiere, if he brought media into the building with him.
Guests included Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, who is shown in the documentary announcing his refusal to conduct any more home evictions when he was sheriff. Ironically, Evans says, his former aide, Kate Ben-Ami, who helped spare Detroiters from eviction, has since lost her job and struggles to pay a mortgage.
Moore’s film includes previously unseen footage of President Franklin Roosevelt delivering a TV address in which Roosevelt proposes a new “bill of rights” for common workers.
“Obviously, my hope is that President Obama would be the Roosevelt of this century,” said Moore.