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Choom Gang: Obama Web Ad Recruits 'Harold and Kumar' Stars

Choom Gang: Obama Web Ad Recruits 'Harold and Kumar' Stars

President Barack Obama made an appeal to the marijuana-smoking “stoner” vote with an online ad featuring the stars of the “Harold and Kumar” movie series. 

The ad depicts Obama calling actor Kal Penn, sitting next to John Cho, his co-star from the cannabis-centric comedy trilogy. While the ad does not explicitly depict the two as high, they are sitting on a couch, eating junk food, and watching cartoons — a subtle nod to “pothead” stereotypes.  

Penn, the former Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement, will host the Thursday live stream of the Democratic National Convention on, according to the ad. 

In the video, Obama talks on the phone to an unseen other party. As dramatic music builds, the President says he needs to know if that this person is “on board” — that he’s counting on him because there is “a lot at stake here.”

“I’ll see you then,” Obama states grimly. 

The ad then reveals Penn, looking slightly groggy as Cho asks who called. “The president,” he deadpans. After a pause, Cho concludes, “Sweet,” then munches a cheese puff.

This is not the first time the two actors have been depicted interacting with the POTUS. In the 2008 film, “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” they spend one scene getting stoned with a fictional George W. Bush.

The ad comes as Obama receives regular criticism, especially by younger voters on the left, for his marijuana policy. In a Reddit appearance last week, users prompted to “ask anything” hounded the president for his continuation of the “war on drugs.”

In 2010 alone, 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana possession and other related crimes. While several states have legalized medical marijuana, federal agents have regularly raided dispensaries.

Obama’s “Choom Gang” past, in which he regularly used cannabis, has been well documented, and pundits such as Penn Gillette and Bill Maher have railed against the president for what they deem hypocrisy on marijuana issues. 

This dissatisfaction among young voters and liberals with Obama’s marijuana policy may hurt the incumbent Democrat in the fall, especially in the key swing state of Colorado. Colorado has a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. 

A new poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows that in Colorado, pro-drug legalization Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson gets five percent of the vote and takes slightly more voters away from Obama than Romney. 


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