President Teleprompter Can’t Speak His Mind

A lot of shock and awe has been made over President Obama’s ability grab audiences with his words while he woos them as a speaker. This was true on the campaign trail and, apparently, still hold true today for those who listen to him without actually processing what he says.

However, a somewhat funny article emerged at the Politico pointing out that at every single speaking engagement, announcement and even down to a remarks lasting a few minutes, President Obama relies on the teleprompter more than any other President ever has.

The irony:

President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.

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.

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.”

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.

Everyone says Obama is horribly smart and that President Bush was horribly dumb. I have to wonder, if President Obama wasn’t relying on a device telling him what to say, even for short few minute remarks, would we be seeing a different Obama?

Of course we would! We already have back in the campaign, as noted in the article, when his teleprompter malfunctioned you watched him nearly have a panic attack.

My point here is not to jest at Obama’s expense, rather it is to point out the fact that he seems incapable of forming his remarks and speeches unless he’s reading them verbatim.

Let’s contrast that with someone who seems able to speak for an hour and a half without little more than notes on a piece of paper:

What a breath of fresh air.

Puts Obama to shame when he can’t even announce a new cabinet appointment without a teleprompter yet they called Bush an idiot.

  • Bill Hedges

    I could understand when o tried to enter White House through a window. Those things happen. I did see one time when his crutch broke.

    It is going to take major event before o falls from his thorn. Few o followers will see connection to Bush..

  • He’s in so far over his head. We all know that Obama is just a product of the socialists that molded him and made him who he is today. Secretly Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright and Saul Alinsky are writing his speeches and telling him what to say on the teleprompter. He’s nothing more than a puppet on a string, Obama is just the figure head that represents the socialists who have hijacked our country. It’s the men running the show that concerns me, after all they crafted the perfect candidate with the perfect message of hope and change. The problem, there was no substance in that message, just enough hope and change to get people hooked. Now America faces a economic uncertainty. Thank you to the Obama voters, this is your fault.

  • D.D.Mao

    I came accross a wonderful story which gives incite on where President Obama is coming from ……and where he’s taking us.It’s a parody site and has some great short thoughts along the side so please don’t think I’m taking you somewhere you don’t want to go.It’s at:

  • D.D.Mao

    The title of the above article is “Cracking the Obama Code:Don Quixote vs. the Windmill Owners” just so you have some idea where the authors going.

  • Babs

    I’ve heard more than one person lately refer to Obama’s “deer in the headlight” look. It’s been that way since his first briefing on foreign policy. I said then he was overwhelmed, and I stand by that same statement now.

    I keep remembering Bill Clinton’s speech in which he stated – with Obama present, I might add – that Obama had called him, his financial advisors, Clinton’s financial advisors, and Clinton again and said “Tell me what to say, and I’ll sell it”. Our President is no more than a used car salesman working for the management group. The problem is – who’s doing the managing?

  • JD

    You guys are hilarious.

  • Babs

    Not much for words this morning, JD? 😉

  • Bill Hedges


    jd adds his well thought out ideas. I’ll try to match that.

    I read your link. Many, as you know, will dismiss because of “presentation”.

    I found it interesting and plan on really sitting down and reading it again.

  • Bill Hedges


    I found this link you might enjoy. Is 9 pages.

    “Don’t Blame President Bush, and the Republicans for the 2008 Financial Mess” – 62k

  • Bill Hedges

    Today, who would get o royal treatment on “The View.” McCain or Obama ? I wonder ?
    ” Well, well, well: Whoopi doesn’t like getting taxed out the wazoo. She went on a little rant today, complaining: “I don’t wanna get it comin’ and going’…BACK OFF ME! (fast-forward to 3:30):”

    Enjoy video on tape

    Is “Hell getting frost bit” ?

  • Macie

    Can;t speak his min – I sometimes wonder if Obama HAS a min… But then he isn’t alone… Obama and his Teleprompter, lol. Now Republicans are making wisecracks in the primaries about Obama’s prompters, while reading the wisecracks from a teleprompter.