« Seven or Eight? | Main | The Knucklehead of the Day award »

The Emperor Can't Utter a Word Without the Assistance of a Teleprompter

Barack Obama is a great orator. More accurately, Barack Obama is a great orator as long as he has a working teleprompter in front of him. Without it his oratory collapses like a marionette without a puppet master.

That there are two Obamas, one that is a brilliant orator and one that stumbles and bumbles, is not a new revelation. Back in February of 2008, the great Dean Barnett wrote of Obama's inability to live up to expectations when he was forced to make do without a teleprompter:

In spite of Obama's obvious strengths in this area, questions linger regarding Obama's gifted speechifying. Do his speeches give us a glimpse at a very special man with a unique vision? Or are we merely witnessing a political one-trick pony? Yes, Obama can turn a phrase better and do more with a Teleprompter than any other modern era politician. But does his special skill set here actually mean anything, or is it instead the political equivalent of a dog walking on its hind legs--unusual and riveting, but not especially significant? Regardless, the liberal commentators have gushed their praise nearly every time Obama has opened his mouth before a Teleprompter the past few months

It was thus interesting to see Obama climb to the stage at Virginia's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday night. As he strode to the podium, Obama clutched in his hands a pile of 3 by 5 index cards. The index cards meant only one thing--no Teleprompter.

Shorn of his Teleprompter, we saw a different Obama. His delivery was halting and unsure. He looked down at his obviously copious notes every few seconds throughout the speech. Unlike the typical Obama oration where the words flow with unparalleled fluidity, he stumbled over his phrasing repeatedly.

Now that Obama is president, keeping his image alive is of vital importance, so he doesn't go anywhere or give any speech no matter how long or short without his teleprompter. From The Politico:

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...

"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.

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.

I can't blame him for wanting to keep them close by. The one thing Barack Obama can't afford right now is to have the narrative that he's a brilliant orator be destroyed. His ability to inspire the American people with his heavily controlled oratory may be the only thing he will left to keep the American people on his side once his big government, tax and spend policies come to fruition.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (35)

Speaking sans tele... (Below threshold)

Speaking sans teleprompter is above his pay grade.

Perhaps if Bush had used a ... (Below threshold)

Perhaps if Bush had used a teleprompter more, he wouldn't have been perceived as a buffoon.

Gee, I think Obama is a buf... (Below threshold)

Gee, I think Obama is a buffoon even WITH a teleprompter.

"Perhaps if Bush had used a... (Below threshold)

"Perhaps if Bush had used a teleprompter more, he wouldn't have been perceived as a buffoon."

Good one Brian. Still bringing up Bush. Changing the subject of the discussion. How long to we have to wait until you no longer bring up Bush?

You don't like people pointing out that your man is a one trick pony?

When I get tired of pointin... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

When I get tired of pointing out the comparisons between how certain events are reported and discussed between the last two Presidents I'll tell you. I'm a looooooong ways away.

So remember "debate-gate"? How stupid Bush was because he couldn't do a debate without Cheney or whoever "giving him the answers"? 'member all that? Or is it memory-hole time?

(Consider also that virtually NO TV broadcasters bought into that idiocy. They know damn well that when someone starts yakkin' in their ear when they are talking, it totally throws their game off. It's virtually impossible to talk in a natural manner when someone is jabbering in your earpiece. That's why you see them yank the thing out sometimes when they are on the air. Now go tell that to the BDS idiot brigades and note their blank stares.)

So now the whole planet knows the One is being teleprompted six ways from Sunday in every conceivable situation, is ignoring the press otherwise, and no one in the MSM cares. Should I be surprised? Tsha! Surprising me in this realm is tough.

By the way, this telprompter issue is gonna blow up on him one day. My prediction, you watch.

Fortunately for Obama all t... (Below threshold)

Fortunately for Obama all the press questions are already scripted.

I'll say it again: One day... (Below threshold)

I'll say it again: One day Slim Pickens will kick him over and say, "It's a fake!! We been suckered in!!"

He's not a great orator. O... (Below threshold)

He's not a great orator. Orators speak well in public. He's not a great public speaker. He's a great public READER.

"'It's just something pr... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"'It's just something presidents haven't done,' said Martha Joynt Kumar"

Well the elemenary school kids keep saying how this is a "historic" presidency after all...

Sadly in so many ways...

Obama has a lot of flashy s... (Below threshold)

Obama has a lot of flashy style but no substance. He is a great reader, but not really a great speaker.

All style no substance. Man... (Below threshold)

All style no substance. Many of us have known that since well before the election. Some are just now finding out! *Sigh*

I guess you guys must have ... (Below threshold)
a giant slor:

I guess you guys must have missed his interview with O'Reilly and his first press conference last month. He didn't have a teleprompter on those occasions, and spoke very eloquently.

I guess you guys must have ... (Below threshold)

I guess you guys must have missed his interview with O'Reilly and his first press conference last month.

The O'Reilly interview was answering questions. You'd have to look at the tape to find something to suddenly remember was "memorable".

As for his first press conference. I marveled at how he stalled for time on each question, trying to look as though he was in deep thought. A press conference with 13 soft ball questions. "Mr President are there any ALLEGED terrorists in Pakistan?".

For God's sake, why did someone have to wake up Helen Thomas?

The man is a human morse co... (Below threshold)

The man is a human morse code machine...Uh Uh Uh Ahhh Ahhh Ahhh Uh Uh Uh...

God forbid the guy make tho... (Below threshold)

God forbid the guy make thoughtful noises when he's being thoughtful.

Normal human beings don't communicate using a bevvy of memorized soundbytes, and thus to give the best answer, the guy thinks. You would prefer that he simply utter the first words that come to mind? Well, Preznits like that only come along once in awhile, and they only get to serve two terms.

Some of you sincerely believe he's an idiot, but you don't graduate magna cum laude from Harvard Law with the alcohol-shriveled brain of a frat boy. You grew used to a leader who simply made decisions, but now you have one who also thinks, and is pretty good at it. He became POTUS despite having Hussein for a middle name and being a black politician from a liberal city--far more impressive than being a PNAC-approved son of a former President.

But then his thoughtfulness would be worrisome to people who laugh with Sarah Palin and not at her. Only another three years until you can throw yourselves at the feet of another unapologetically ignorant Presidential candidate. Palin/Plumber 2012! Pass the paint chips!

Wait... so now taking a mom... (Below threshold)

Wait... so now taking a moment to think things through is the accepted norm for the Libtards? Where were you when Bush was getting lambasted for waiting and thinking things through after the first plane hit the North Tower WTC instead of taking immediate action.

Oh that's right. 2 different sets of rules for different political parties. My bad, I should have remembered that part.

Obama has mastered Politica... (Below threshold)

Obama has mastered Political Karaoke!


I could care less about his... (Below threshold)

I could care less about his teleprompter.

I'm more concerned with his lackluster appreciation for the collapse of the stock market.

#18 ODA315I think ... (Below threshold)

#18 ODA315

I think he care more about his teleprompter than the economy.

OOPS!That's "cares".... (Below threshold)

That's "cares".

Perhaps if Bush had used... (Below threshold)

Perhaps if Bush had used a teleprompter more, he wouldn't have been perceived as a buffoon.

LOL! Spoken so true!

you people need to g... (Below threshold)

you people need to get serious. the dow has been cut in half!! 6800!! it was 14000 in sept. '07!! this ain't no joke. this is serious stuff people.

graduate magna cum... (Below threshold)
graduate magna cum laude

Has anyone ever actually seen BO's grades? How about his college transcripts?

Didn't think so.

Guess there's nothing there to be proud of.

Or could there be something there he doesn't want the peasant masses to see?

I think he has trained like... (Below threshold)

I think he has trained like an actor to read a speach a certain way. I think he has watched a lot of Denzel Washingtons movies and does a good impersonation. He probably built on that. His prepared speaches from the prompter have given him time to put on the mask and say the speach in character.
When he doesn't have the teleprompter he can't do the impersonation. He has to say it all in his head..add the impersonation character..then speak. That causes all the umms..ahhs..umms. It must be distracting as hell.

"God forbid the guy make [s... (Below threshold)

"God forbid the guy make [sic] thoughtful noises when he's being thoughtful"

Thoughtful noises?

You're right. That is impressive.

God forbid the guy make ... (Below threshold)

God forbid the guy make [sic] thoughtful noises when he's being thoughtful

ROFL. 'Thoughtful noises'.

Yeah, so he's a noisy thinker ?

"uhh.. arghh.... |god this hurts|.... uhm... |where's the damn script|.. uuuhh arr".

I suspect that he has troub... (Below threshold)

I suspect that he has trouble without the TelePrompTer because he has to edit his true thoughts and feelings which are at odds with the script. Witness his slip with Joe the Plumber. Thus the Uhs and Ahs. The folks really pulling the strings want to make sure he stays on message. Thus the ever-present TelePrompTer.

Big Brother Loves You.

Best description I have hea... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Best description I have heard for Obama and his coterie of advisors is that they are part of the Harvard short bus.

You know what'd be amusing?... (Below threshold)

You know what'd be amusing? Hack his teleprompter. Try runing Monty Python sketch dialog when he's coming out with more policy speeches, and see what happens.

And I'm not even feeling that upset with the poor sap any more. He's ridiculously out of his element and WAY out of his depth, like some bad movie where a poor schmuck from the streets of Chicago has been suddenly stuck in as President, kind of like 'The Prince and the Pauper'. We're stuck in a cheap political comedy... and we can't change theaters!

I've said before I think Obama thought of the Presidency as a reward. He didn't realize it was a sentence to hard intellectual labor, and the gilded cage he so admired from outside is, in the end, just a cage he's in while he's trying to do work way beyond what he's ever done, with no clue on how to do it.

hyper, at this point you mi... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

hyper, at this point you might as well quit insulting Sarah Palin. Your buddies here in the states managed to elect a pair with far less intelligence and competence combined.

Obama/Biden '08. . who knew it was their IQ?

And it is funny that you cheer them on. . . if they "succeed" at destroying the American economy, Canada dies too.

Perhaps, but our heavily re... (Below threshold)

Perhaps, but our heavily regulated banking system and tel-tech sectors are doing really well, so I think we'll be fine.

My company is hiring...

Odd that no one brings up ... (Below threshold)
Your Wise Uncle Rick:

Odd that no one brings up his speech writer -
a late 20's white kid. You may remember him as the clown coppin' a feel off the Hillary cardboard stand up. Was it really him who had the message that the citizenry voted for? Something to think about.

Why is this an issue?... (Below threshold)

Why is this an issue?

If Bush had used a teleprompter instead of winging it he wouldn't have barfed out hundreds of "Bushisms". There are entire books devoted to Bush's mangled speeches. It's pathetic.

I'd much rather have the President take the time to read the speech as it was written and deliver the intended message. To do otherwise is foolish. He's on the world stage. Get a clue.

The only reason anyone would take issue with this is if they're petty and bitter about last year's election results.

Suck. It. Up.

Perhaps, but our heavily... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Perhaps, but our heavily regulated banking system and tel-tech sectors are doing really well, so I think we'll be fine.

My company is hiring...

Good to hear, but many companies southwards of you are still doing fairly well also, for the moment. . . it's what the future holds that doesn't bode so well. For any of us.

Destroyer misses the point, that if Obama was actually capable of thinking his plans through, he'd be able to defend them without using a prepared speech. He can't. Bush mangled words, but you could tell the thoughts behind them. "Uh uhh, uh" doesn't have any thought behind it.

After a couple of weeks, I was pretty sure the theme song for the inauguration should have been "Send In The Clowns."

Now I'm wondering if maybe it should have been "Nearer My God to Thee."

Did someone conciscate the ... (Below threshold)

Did someone conciscate the universal translator? HYUK,HYUK,HYUK






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy