Obama’s best friend – the TelePrompter

Posted on March 5, 2009

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Politico reports that President Obama’s using a TelePrompter at nearly every speaking event and with more frequency than any modern President. It caused malfunctions on the campaign trail and at speaking events, and it’s proving challenging for camera crews to catch a good angle of the President. This quote is key:

“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.”

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.

Look, let’s be honest, in this modern era, TelePrompters are going to be used as technological aides for oratory. But to be used as frequently and at so many events large or small begs the question – how good is Obama speaking on his feet? He did decent during the primary debates, so you would think there would be no worries there. However, his presidential debate performance wasn’t particularly that much more noteworthy than McCain’s, and several times speaking extemporaneously Obama seems to use uncomfortably long pauses and “aaah’s” as he’s searching for the right word. Some might find that thoughtful; I personally find it a little hard on the ears.

None of this is that big of a deal; after all, Obama is only human, right? Unfortunately, that’s the problem with the hype and mania surrounding his rise, that he has been inflated to be the greatest orator and communicator since Reagan, no, since Lincoln! To me, the overuse of a crutch like the TelePrompter would seem to contradict that just a little, so let’s bring our mortal President back down to earth now, shall we?

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Posted in: Politics