Obama can’t break the teleprompter habit, either; Update: Tapper and Sawyer in August

posted at 5:10 pm on March 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Rumors about Barack Obama’s addiction have crept around the capital for the last few weeks, but no one has wanted to explicitly report it until Politico did so this afternoon.  Has Obama relapsed on smoking?  Do his massive government spending plans indicate an acute gambling problem?  No, in this case, Obama has another crutch:

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 luck.

This may be news to the throngs of Obamabots who elected him, but not to those of us who paid attention to Obama on the campaign trail.  When he had the TelePrompters, he made crowds swoon.  When he didn’t, though, things would go terribly wrong.  Most of the fumbles on the campaign trail — such as Iran being a “tiny” and therefore no threat, America not being “what it once was”, came when Obama had to go off script.  Once, his TelePrompter failed for a couple of moments and he stammered until someone apparently fixed it.

It’s not exactly news among the media, either, but they didn’t exactly trip all over themselves to report it.  Give CNN a small credit for mentioning Obama’s crutch once in the midst of a flurry of criticism of Sarah Palin for her lack of extemporaneous talent:

The Democratic presidential nominee has never tried to hide the fact he delivers speeches off the device, though normally he doesn’t use one at standard campaign rallies and town hall events.

But the Illinois senator used a teleprompter at both his Colorado events Monday — making for a particularly peculiar scene in Pueblo, where the prompter was set up in the middle of what is normally a rodeo ring.

This came two weeks after the Obama campaign derided Palin for using a speechwriter, which CNN failed to mention in its report and which the rest of the media ignored. They liked painting Palin as some sort of empty suit, and heralding Obama as a secular messiah with wisdom rolling off his tongue at every occasion.  They swallowed the meme gladly from Team Obama.

Look, a TelePrompter is a tool, like anything else, and using the right tool for the right job is part of competent performance.  Using it a press briefings, though, looks more like Obama is helpless without a script than a man relying on technology for success.  Had the media paid attention to Obama’s disastrous off-script performances during the campaign, he might not be at the podium at all now.

Update: The video’s been pulled, but Jake Tapper told Diane Sawyer in August about Obama’s TelePrompter crutch.  Video here.  And while I always enjoy my friend T-Steel’s posts, his criticism about this not being a real story runs a little cold when we count up the I-hate-Rush posts his co-bloggers have piled up over at TMV the last couple of weeks.


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nah its content….it thinks its rants will divert attention from its idol’s market performance…..

That’s the sad part.

Jim Treacher on March 6, 2009 at 12:46 AM

Give it up guys. Not even “the one” can argue facts with his devotees and, our aptly named friend is certainly devoted.

Gohawgs on March 6, 2009 at 12:47 AM

Change the channel dude.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:43 AM

says the guy whose fella is on all of them….

look enjoy yourself you have power en perpetual right?

I mean when people get their government cheese and have Barney Frank follow through on the threats his Caucus is making on raiding 401ks and IRAs everyone will look at their rationed healthcare and say “oh hell yeah that was a fair trade”……

Dow 6,594.44 -281.40 (-4.09%)
NASDAQ 1,299.59 -54.15 (-4%)
S&P 682.55 -30.32 (-4.25%)

Barry Soetoro as peter Pan and Captain Hook in “Neverland”….

tick tock tick tock

sven10077 on March 6, 2009 at 12:47 AM

They are counting on the electorate being as unsavvy about the markets as they were in the 40s, 50s, and 60s when “this is all Hoover’s fault” could still be played….

sven10077 on March 6, 2009 at 12:40 AM

That does pose an interesting question. Fanbois like Wasteofalife aside, are the American people going to fall for the “It’s Bush’s fault” meme like they did for the “Hoover did this” explanation for why the Depression was so bad? Or, is there a chance that people will eventually wake up and realize that things didn’t start going south until the Dems took back the House and Senate in the 2006 elections? Right now, people don’t want to hear that Bush tried 11 times to institute additional oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the dems like Barney Frank rebuffed that with the comment that there was no threat of those institutions becoming insolvent. Then Barney Frank has the audacity to say that there should be criminal trials for those responsible for the sub-prime mess. Hey Barney! I’m all for that as long as you and Chris Country-wide Dodd are the first in the dock.

AZfederalist on March 6, 2009 at 12:50 AM

Sure, Paulson went to w’s office to tell him the shit has hit the fan for nothing.

The history books will tell the story.

It’s a bush depression.

Have a good night.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:53 AM

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:53 AM

K-Mart, we should go to K-Mart. 400 Oak Street.

Jim Treacher on March 6, 2009 at 12:55 AM

Sure, Paulson went to w’s office to tell him the shit has hit the fan for nothing.

The history books will tell the story.

It’s a bush depression.

Have a good night.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:53 AM

Paulson told him after Frank succeeded in blocking all reform….

but hey there’s a good chance the history books will be in either Spanish or Chinese so have a good night and maybe tomorrow they’ll let you take off the gimp mask before it is 10:00 pm so you can see the keyboard….

sven10077 on March 6, 2009 at 12:56 AM

getalife, what you fail to understand (well, one of the things) is that the moment Obamabecame president, everything in the world that goes wrong is his fault.

That’s the standard you libs set for Bush, that’s the standard for Obama. If you don’t like it, then you’re just a hypocrite, and your opinion is worthless.

You set the rules, deal with it.

malclave on March 6, 2009 at 1:00 AM

Before donning those spiderman jammies getalife, riddle me this…Which part of our Federal Government is responsible for crafting and writing our various laws, the Executive or the Legislature? Now, which branch was responsible for the CRA? Which branch was responsible for the 1995 change in the CRA that eventually allowed this lending/mortgage/housing debacle? Which 2 Presidents asked for the ’95 change to be rescinded? Whose former Executive Branch members populated the ‘management teams’ at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and made $millions during the run up to the “mortgage crash”?

Don’t hurt yourself when putting on your thinking cap…

Gohawgs on March 6, 2009 at 1:03 AM

Can someone give me the link to the video. When I click on it all I get is Rachel Ray.

jcheney on March 6, 2009 at 1:05 AM

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.

“famous for his oratory”????!!!!! REALLY? famous? Until a year ago, most anyone ever new of him was that he was a Chicago politician that stole his election.
FAMOUS……. PHTTTTTT!

JeffVader on March 6, 2009 at 1:06 AM

The ineptitude of this President is embarrassing to watch. Is it really possible that we will have to live with his policies. You could get more sense from any random 8th grader in the country than what we are seeing right now.

Do you think this is what happens to people who use drugs for extended periods of time?

petunia on March 6, 2009 at 1:12 AM

at least President Bush tried to speak where as BHO is afraid of sounding like a junior in High school. Take the prompter away .

hawkman on March 6, 2009 at 1:18 AM

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:43 AM

Right, it was the Republicans who blocked all efforts at reform at Fannie and Freddie. I always forget how that Republican congresswoman what’s her name? Oh yeahMaxine Waters claimed: “We do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac and particularly Fannie Mae under the outstanding leadership of Frank Raines.” Good thing she told the truth about her ties to the failed leadership of Fannie and Freddie. Phew, hate to see another Republican caught in a lie.

I know it really bugs the Dems that they weren’t able to destroy the economy completely during the Bush administration. Luckily they brought in Obama to finish it off.

msmveritas on March 6, 2009 at 1:38 AM

Have a good night.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:53 AM

How many thousands have we lost since the election?
2000 plus? Or are we at 3000 now?

The fact of the matter (junior) is that the markets are forward thinking. They react to what they know and what they are telling us is that they don’t trust barry obama. They have no confidence in barry obama. And they are screaming it!

The 13000 plus markets that we had in the Bush years, only to be kicked in the crotch due to the idiot dems blocking any action on the housing (barney freak and chris dud I”m looking in your direction)…started this collapse, and now the juvenile and incompetent actions of the man-child in the office now…is just burying us.

Dems are bad…for everything.

EVERYTHING.

Handel on March 6, 2009 at 1:39 AM

Handel on March 6, 2009 at 1:39 AM

Amen! I hate this bullsh#t they spew about the failed Bush economy.

msmveritas on March 6, 2009 at 1:43 AM

Thanks for the socialism…idiots.

2Tru2Tru on March 6, 2009 at 2:23 AM

How dare you all question Obama? He would only ask that you kneel, while the cruel conservatives would have you stand.

chicagojedi on March 6, 2009 at 3:39 AM

Sure, Paulson went to w’s office to tell him the shit has hit the fan for nothing.

The history books will tell the story.

It’s a bush depression.

Have a good night.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:53 AM

In twenty years if this is the USSA, the history books will glorify the libs demolishing the economy. But if it’s still the USA Obama will hold the title for worst leader in history, not merely worst president.

darktood on March 6, 2009 at 4:05 AM

The libtards at the Politico are acting like its completely normal to use a teleprompter for everything. IMAGINE if it had been Bush. These hypocrits would never shut up about it.

Speedwagon82 on March 6, 2009 at 6:36 AM

The history books will tell the story.

It’s a bush depressionrecession, an Obama depression.

More accurate.

jimmy2shoes on March 6, 2009 at 6:44 AM

This headline is not so OT as you might think. We needed a president that can think on his feet. Rather, we ending up a boob who experienced a stammering meltdown in a discussion about emergency room healthcare and saying that an asthmatic child should be given a breathalyzer.

Is that the way he;s talking to BIishkek.

We needed this Base!!! We had a second and third chance to negotiate!

Amateur hour and our servicemen and women’s lives are on the line.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2009 at 7:15 AM

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 12:43 AM

We all drew straws and I lost. I’m supposed to check on you daily to make sure you’re getting away from the computer long enough to at least eat and take a shower.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2009 at 7:20 AM

“The teleprompter is a tool” not to mention the guy using it.

pugwriter on March 6, 2009 at 7:55 AM

Ivy League education is paying off! Clearly. He can read a teleprompter. Amazing!

Penguin on March 6, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Ivy League education is paying off! Clearly. He can read a teleprompter. Amazing!

Penguin on March 6, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Don’t scoff. It’s not as easy as you think. Obama has one screen in black preacher english and one screen in English. Effortlessly, he switches, depending upon the audience. Now let’s just hope there’s no mix-up when he meets the Queen!

JiangxiDad on March 6, 2009 at 8:05 AM

I bet the PotUS can get some killer blow!!!

He has Tax-Cheats, radical Ministers, far left anti-American Professors in his circle… I would guess he has more than a few drug dealer contacts in that bunch…

Maybe that Wednesday night regular “party” help now at the WH is really a “rip-snortin’-good-time”…

I wonder if he has given up THAT old habit???

Mark Garnett on March 6, 2009 at 8:24 AM

The telepromptemperor has no clothes.

Mr Purple on March 6, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Close your eyes and imagine President Bush at one of the ceremonies awarding the Medal of Honor to a fallen hero.

If you can’t, here’s a reminder. And another.

Now, imagine Pres. Teleprompter attempting this, with and without his pacifier.

I can’t.

Brat on March 6, 2009 at 9:00 AM

It is interesting that the response on Iran’s size in comparison to the USSR and it not posing the threat that the USSR did hasn’t come to the obvious conclusion that it can pose a different and just as lethal threat in another venue. The words ‘asymmetrical warfare’ are ones we should know by now, and the attacks by Iran on the international system of diplomacy via strong-arm tactics in Lebanon, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Argentina, Colombia… each of those having direct problems with Iran or its cat’s paw Hezbollah. That is a different type and scale of problem when it isn’t the Nation that is attacked but the international system, and multiple Presidents have tried ‘diplomacy’ to get Iran to act civilized: Carter, Reagan, HW Bush, Clinton, W Bush. They have all failed from back-channel negotiations, to sweet talking, to cake sending, to ‘civilian interest exchanges’… and what does President Obama have left to try? Well, Appeasement is always on the table, I guess…

The other threat is Private War groups associated with Iran, beyond just Hezbollah and its direct off-shoots, allow the ever-so-pure Iranian mullahs to take advantage of the narcotics trade and then wonder why their own people turn up as addicts. Since coming to power the regime has spent far more money on Hezbollah and other Private War groups than it has spent on its National military in all venues. That includes the cute little long range missiles, copied Chinese cruise missiles, and all those lovely nuclear separators it has reverse engineered for home use. Considering that Hezbollah cells and affiliates have been found in the US and Canada dealing in everything from stolen cars to tax fraud to credit card and banking fraud to black market goods sales and even running a lucrative cigarette smuggling business, saying that Iran is ‘not the same threat as the USSR’ misses the point that it is a nasty and toxic threat that uses any weakness to advance. I would speculate that Hezbollah gets at least half of its operating funds from such ventures and its helping Syria in the heroin trade… and that is a very low end estimate. Iran supplies ‘durable goods’ and training, while the Hezbollah operation provides O&M, recruitment and retention funds…

That is far, far different than the USSR and is much, much harder to confront and stop as the connections these groups have to the black market trade system is deep. Getting rid of Iran would only deprive a heavy equipment flow to Hezbollah, not undermine it. Iran able to provide nuclear, chemical or biological devices to help fund itself, say during a large scale economic downturn when its subsidy system implodes, is a different threat than the USSR which had good reasons to not do such things as supply terrorists or rogue regimes with such goods.

The USSR was, on a National scale, cheap and easy to confront, with the Cold War costing, at its worse, 8% of GDP per year. Going after the black market channels that keep Iran and Hezbollah tied to the worst regimes, organized crime and terror organizations on the planet is far harder, far longer and doesn’t stop when Iran implodes. These are far more sophisticated actors on the world stage than even the likes of George Soros. Soros loves bankrupting countries to make a fortune, the group once led by Mogilevich swindles $10 billion per year from Russia and has the ability to shut off Iran’s natural gas imports which it needs to survive as it has let its refinery system fall into ruin. Just that group alone would have good reason to channel funds to the cartels in Mexico to gain political influence there to run a similar swindle between Mexico and its cash ready northern neighbor.

That is the sort of people we are dealing with and they are damned hard to stop during the best of times. Marc Rich was one of the prime movers of trading with Iran and setting up the post-Soviet system to empower the Red Mafia groups. That is a far different type and scale of threat that is absolutely asymmetrical to the one the USSR posed and cannot be approached in the same, heavy handed, easy spending fashion.

So I disagree completely with the simplistic conclusion drawn from candidate Obama about the threat of Iran. He didn’t state the threat and never has, so I must take it he doesn’t comprehend it. That ever-so-simplistic idea system used to get to some sort of conclusion is inherently dangerous as it refuses to recognize multi-variate threats from different scales and levels on a global scale, only a few of which are amenable to US industrial power. Now that we have a decayed industrial infrastructure even that backstop is disappearing. Yet candidate now President Obama cannot clearly state those things, articulate them or even show that he recognizes them.

And neither did his opponent, btw. I don’t like him having direct contacts to one of the Red Mafia group heads. I found this last election most unsatisfying on many levels as the ‘lesser evil’ was no good at all. But then I care about the future of my Nation, not its damned political parties which have both merrily led us on this path to Hell via ‘lesser evil’ choices. Cthulhu, for sure, will be the ‘lesser evil’ next time.

ajacksonian on March 6, 2009 at 9:04 AM

ajacksonian on March 6, 2009 at 9:04 AM

An excellent analysis! I wonder if one of the advantages we had in the Cold War was that the economy itself *was* a weapon, while in the current conflict it merely pays for the weapons. Much of the Soviet collapse came from an exhausted economic system that could not compete with ours, despite years of propaganda about the miracles of communism that Western intellectuals lapped up like cream. Now we *are* the exhausted economic system, complete with five-year economic plans and a cult of personality around the leadership. Even when our economy was booming, the terrorist enemy was not about to collapse from envy.

And the economy is now a target, with the enemy able to attack it in a way the Soviets never could. Another 9/11-style attack would simply destroy the rickety, overtaxed, overspent American system, especially if the terrorists wait another year or so to unleash it, after the serious madness of Obamanomics kicks in. Barack Obama’s America simply cannot absorb several billion dollars in instantaneous economic damage, the way George W. Bush’s America did.

Doctor Zero on March 6, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Don’t scoff. It’s not as easy as you think. Obama has one screen in black preacher english and one screen in English. Effortlessly, he switches, depending upon the audience. Now let’s just hope there’s no mix-up when he meets the Queen!

After he dissed the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Queen would never grace him with her presence.

Steve Z on March 6, 2009 at 10:10 AM

When Barry campaigned with his teleprompter, the ladies were in a swoon.

When Barry leads the nation with or without one, Wall Street is in a swoon.

During the campaign, the ladies had a crush on Obama. Now we’re all crushed by Obama.

During the campaign, he was oooh so sexy.
Now we’re all screwed.

Steve Z on March 6, 2009 at 10:25 AM

“right tool for the right job is part of competent performance”

pray tell, cite an example of Obama competance.

there are none, because he has never done anything in his live except talk. And it turns out he can’t even do that competantly without a teleprompter.

notagool on March 6, 2009 at 10:47 AM

After he dissed the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Queen would never grace him with her presence.

Steve Z on March 6, 2009 at 10:10 AM

The prime minister was beneath The One’s pay grade. After all, he is not he “head of state” of the UK, just the hired help. The One will be nice to the Queen, as he believes himself to be the new King of America.

rockmom on March 6, 2009 at 11:22 AM

that the moment Obamabecame president, everything in the world that goes wrong is his fault. That’s the standard you libs set for Bush, that’s the standard for Obama. If you don’t like it, then you’re just a hypocrite, and your opinion is worthless.

You set the rules, deal with it.

malclave on March 6, 2009 at 1:00 AM

And EVERYONE should push that memo.

Greed on March 6, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Is there any way to “hack” a teleprompter?

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on March 6, 2009 at 5:41 PM

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on March 6, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Nothing is “hack-proof”.

I was thinking it would be great to hear at a future press conference Q&A;

Reporter: “Yes, Mr. President, thank you…. just tell me when my question is on the teleprompter, and we’ll continue”

cryptojunkie on March 6, 2009 at 7:05 PM

The way that Obama is constantly going on about the problems he “inherited” and never missing the chance to take a cheap shot at his predecessor is a sign of a weak and shallow man who is not fit to lead this country.

The only reason he is there is because the media thought it would be cool to have a dark-skinned President and basically rammed that idea down the country’s throat.

Maybe we can’t get rid of Barry, but we sure can destroy the media, and it needs destroying. Now.

drunyan8315 on March 6, 2009 at 7:10 PM

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