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Politico: OBAMA DOESN'T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT HIS TELEPROMPTER

Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.


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The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.

Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.

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Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.

His use of the teleprompter makes work tricky for the television crews and photographers trying to capture an image of the president announcing a new Cabinet secretary or housing plan without a pane of glass blocking his face. And it is a startling sight to see such sleek, modern technology set against the mahogany doors and Bohemian crystal chandeliers in the East Room or the marble columns of the Grand Foyer.

“It’s just something presidents haven’t done,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidential historian who has held court in the White House since December 1975. “It’s jarring to the eye. In a way, it stands in the middle between the audience and the president because his eye is on the teleprompter.”
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Just how much of a crutch the teleprompter has become for Obama was on sharp display during his latest commerce secretary announcement. The president spoke from a teleprompter in the ornate Indian Treaty Room for a few minutes. Then Gov. Gary Locke stepped to the podium and pulled out a piece of paper for reference.

The president’s teleprompter also elicited some uncomfortable laughter after he announced Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his choice for Health and Human Services secretary. “Kathy,” Obama said, turning the podium over to Sebelius, who waited at the microphone for an awkward few seconds while the teleprompters were lowered to the floor and the television cameras rolled.

Obama has relied on a teleprompter through even the shortest announcements and when repeating the same lines on his economic stimulus plan that he's been saying for months — whereas past presidents have mostly worked off of notes on the podium except during major speeches, such as the State of the Union.

Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for George W. Bush, said while it’s entirely a matter of personal style, using a teleprompter at these smaller events has its drawbacks.

“It removes you from the audience in the room,” Fleischer said. When speaking from notes, Fleischer said, the president can pick up his head and make eye contact with those in the audience, as opposed to focusing on the teleprompter to his left and right.

Bush, Fleischer added, “would use the teleprompter for his major big events, but when he would travel around the country or do events, he would almost always work off of large index cards.”

The White House says Obama’s point of reference is insignificant.


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Obama has never tried to hide his use of a teleprompter. It was a mainstay during the final months of his campaign. He brought it to county fairs and campaign rallies alike — and once had it set up in the ring at a rodeo.

In a break from his routine, Obama did not use a teleprompter during his pre-Inauguration speech at a factory in Bedford Heights, Ohio — and his delivery seemed to suffer. He paused too long at parts. He accentuated the wrong words. And overall he sounded hesitant and halting as he spoke from the prepared remarks on the podium.

As president, the stakes in what he says are higher. Governing is not campaigning, and, as a former first-term senator, Obama has not held a previous elected position where his words carried even close to this level of influence.

“In this kind of environment, you don’t want to make mistakes — on the economy you’re talking about doing things that affect the markets,” Kumar said.

But be it extra precaution, style or a mental crutch, Obama has shown in the past that he needs the teleprompter. And while he still has his prepared remarks placed on the podium in a leather folder, the White House has shown no sign of trying to wean him off of it.

Before Obama entered a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday to announce his crackdown on defense contracts, a CNN reporter asked an Obama aide if the teleprompter could be moved further away from the podium or lowered. The answer was an unequivocal ‘no.’

“He uses them to death,” a television crewmember who also covered the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said of the teleprompter. “The problem is, he never looks at you. He’s looking left, right, left, right — not at the camera. It’s almost like he’s not making eye contact with the American people.”

Wednesday’s event posed another scenario photographers and television crews have to work around. Obama had five others join him at the announcement, including Sen. John McCain. The takeaway shot was of Obama and McCain. But the teleprompter on Obama’s left was almost directly in front of McCain.

“You couldn’t get a good angle on him with McCain,” said a White House photographer who also covered Bush. “So if there’s someone else important in the frame, it’s hard to get a shot without the teleprompter.”


POLITICO


Added: Mar-5-2009 
By: Hypnojive
In:
News
Tags: teleprompter, obama, phoney
Views: 7997 | Comments: 26 | Votes: 3 | Favorites: 2 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • Not so good at speeches then, more of an actor who needs his lines...

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • Those arent teleprompters. They're mirrors.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • Its all canned and it will all come apart at the worst moment. Obama is a joke.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • hehe, not surprised since he failed without them during the campaign...

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • He's only repeating what his handlers wish him to say.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • One Big Assed Mistake America is just a boble head that moves his lips. One on one without coaching he doesn't even know what to say.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • he sux off the teleprompter

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • none of this bothered the GOP before they lost the election. they loved bush.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • It is true that he uses teleprompters more than any other president but if one relies on teleprompters or note cards what difference does it make? He is said to write most of his material. Whatever works

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • I guess I'm a little confused.. Is this the first time a president has used a prompter?

    Is this thread a joke? Seriously guys.... Is this really important???? Is the subject of Obama using a prompter more important to you than our economy? Is this more important than the fact that we are about to lose our National Sovereignity?

    This is so typical. People are just totally clueless about the real issues we are facing.

    Posted Mar-6-2009 By 

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  • "The problem is, he never looks at you. He's looking left, right, left, right %u2014 not at the camera. It's almost like he's not making eye contact with the American people."

    ***

    Speech Class 101: Look from the left side of the audience, to the center, and to the right to make sure every person sees you are addressing 'them'.

    Anyone take that class before who remembers what I'm saying? or no?

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • anyone with education beyond the 9th grade isn't someone you can have a beer with remember, so speech class wouldn't be on the mind.

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • that's true, good point

      "A recent Zogby/Williams Identity Poll reflected that. It found that 57% of undecided voters would rather have a beer with Bush than Kerry. (In Bush's case, it would be a nonalcoholic beer.)

      While both were raised with silver spoons in their mouths and both went to Yale, Bush comes off as less pretentious and more down to earth. Kerry sounds like he is lecturing people rather than holding a conversation with them.

      "Snob" is a word often used by people wh More..

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • secondly, Bush was one of the worst speakers we've ever had for a President

    bar none. you have nothing to complain about and you're grasping for straws again, right-wing partisans

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • yeah, I have to say Bush should have practiced with a teleprompter, it might have helped some, LOL.

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • You say that as if you've witnessed every US president in office. But you have not, which discredits your argument.

      In the end, to me it matters more what a man does, where he stands, than how he looks. Bush wasn't perfect, far from it, but at least he stood by his commitments.

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • - I've heard just about every president speak since the 1920s onward

      - Bush stood by his lies and then tried rationalizing them away at the end of his presidency. F that war criminal

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • of course he did....... he never spoke without a teleprompter, he just couldn't read very well under pressure.....one of the only presidents ive ever seen give a speech without notes or a teleprompter was Clinton.

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • Bush stood by his decision. He promised the Iraqis he would not cut and run in effort to earn their broken trust from Desert Storm.

      You're unwilling to accept that, because you're just a political biased opportunist that finds one thing wrong with a man, and beats him on the head for the rest of his life.

      You were unhappy with Bush, and still unhappy with Obama. Don't feed my the bullshit that it was Bush's fault. It's your fault that you're unhappy and LiveLeak gives you a portal to ve More..

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

      (4) | Report

  • And yes, bush should have used them more often, maybe then he wouldn't have said "Is our children learning?" when talking about education.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • Bush used a teleprompter during his post 9-11 blabber...even standing at ground zero.You may want to drop this subject before it bites you in the ass.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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  • Busn couldn't order breakfast without an auto-cue.

    Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • Who is Busn?

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

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    • It's funny to think you might actually be showing your intellectual prowess in this comment.

      I wonder what your mother or father did to you to instill such a complex that you actually think your pathetic, tiny and irrelevant life beyond the 130 people you know personally in this world is actually on par with that of just 1 of 44 men to hold the position of POTUS.

      Difference between you and me is im under no illusions of my value and range in this world, you obviously are with comments like th More..

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

      (-1) | Report

    • Game. Set. Match.

      Posted Mar-5-2009 By 

      (-1) | Report