Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on January 17, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Note: See update.

Obviously, most Hot Air readers disagree with my assessment (and Allahpundit’s) of Barack Obama’s speech last Wednesday evening at the University of Arizona. They also blame Obama more for the odd tone of the event, with its whooping and whistling and t-shirts, than the university that organized it. Fair enough. But one thing on which we can all agree is that that the White House wrote the speech, and apparently  added “applause” indicators into Obama’s speech that the university put on the Jumbotron in their captioning for the audience.

The university was responsible for most of the problems that did occur, and detracted from a very good speech from President Obama.  But it’s hard to imagine that the university inserted the “[APPLAUSE]” tags that went with the captioning on the Jumbotron on their own.  How would the organizers know which lines were intended for applause space?  That had to come from the speech provided to the organizers by the White House for the purpose of displaying the captioning, and obviously Obama gives the final approval on his speeches, as do all Presidents. The White House may not have intended for those tags to appear on the screen (they could have been intended as stage directions for Obama, which would still be a little crass), but if not, they shouldn’t have had them in the speech in the first place.

It’s also a fair criticism of the White House (although not necessarily an OOTD) that they didn’t exercise more control of the memorial service.  My guess is that if they arrange to have Obama speak at any more memorials, they won’t make the same mistake again.

Update: Guy Benson says that the White House may not have been responsible for the applause indicators:

Based on this amateur video taken at the event (skip ahead to approximately 4:30), it appears that there was a live transcription process active throughout the ceremony.  Note the on-screen description of the musical performance, as well as the appearance of the words “[cheering and applause]” before the president even arrives at the podium:

I think failing to ensure a proper tone was a big mistake at the White House. However, his point on the applause indicators is well taken. My apologies for my incorrect analysis earlier on the applause indicators.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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Comment pages: 1 2

The speech may have been good, rhetorically, Ed. The problem is that no one here believes it was genuine.

Rational Thought on January 17, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Kudos on that point RT, but clearly Ed and AP think it was genuine. Either that or it doesn’t matter to them if it was genuine as long as the wordsmithing and delivery were right. Or…Ed believes he may not have credibility unless he finds something now and then for which to praise Obama, warranted or not. The first option is wrong but at least it’s principled.

Extrafishy on January 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM

ObaMao is a shallow, cheap con man, capable of rhetorical flourishes from the pulpit but little substance to his style. I am surprised at how many thoughtful political analysts did not see the emptiness of both the speech and the presence of ObaMao in Tuscon.

onlineanalyst on January 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM

America already deserves the shellacking she’ll receive after 2012. The ‘independents’ and the righties-sans-cojones will enable the charlatan to win again. Then he’ll have a care-free mandate to destroy at will until 2016.

Schadenfreude toward all the fools who’ll enable him and who’ll deserve him fully.

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Obama is the perfect example why MLK’s vision has failed.

The latter turns disgustedly in his grave.

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I don’t deny it was a good speech, but it’s just his history. What he says, for political motivation, and his actions….are two vastly different things. He cries for unity, and bipartisanship…yet now…as of the news this morning, his EPA sec…took back a license from a coal mining company in WV.

How is that unity? He just robbed thousands, of their jobs, and according to the news story….more coal mines are on the list.

capejasmine on January 17, 2011 at 3:51 PM

The university was responsible for most of the problems that did occur, and detracted from a very good speech from President Obama.

The university may have shared repsonsibility, but I don’t believe for a second that the White House was not involved as well… consulted at least, coordinated mroe likely.

And it may have been a good speech, but was it up to Shakespearian standards? Because that’s all it was, drama, and it should be judged in its proper context. Soon enough, Obama will be back to his normal divisive, sometimes violent rhetoric, because calls for “civility” just don’t apply to Democrats.

malclave on January 17, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

I’ve read that Der Führer gave quite a good speech, too.

oldleprechaun on January 17, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Tween 7:35 and 7:45 the tape is looped.

How do we know this tape hasn’t had the audio cut and re-pasted for the “appearance of the [APPLAUSE] sign” after the applause started?

If you watch the tape at the 7:35 to 7:45 marks you will see the same “video” twice, one with audio and one without audio.

Its undeniable this tape has been “fixed”.

“Ugh – from a comment I left on a previous thread.
Again, it’s common practice in closed captioning to include all sounds – applause, laughing, screaming, cross talk, dogs barking – and it is placed in brackets like on that jumbo-tron. I worked at a TV station with closed captioning and would be quite surprised if that is not what this was.”

So why was there no “Close captioning” applause when the University of Arizona student Daniel Hernandez Jr. spoke?

Also if you watch this highly edited tape there is no consistency in the application of the “Applause sign”, that would seem to go against “it’s common practice in closed captioning to include all soundsapplause, laughing, screaming, cross talk, dogs barking” yes?

I’m sure all these “one offs” individually can be explained with “Plausible deniability” but in total?

“Never let a tragedy go to waste” Obama motto.

Printed T-shirts on every chair that just happen to have ‘Together We ThriveSlogan from Obama’s 08 election?

The whole “pep rally” feel to the “event”?

The speech did/did not have expected “Applause pause” in it?

At what point do we conclude this guy is “blanking” on our shoes and telling us its raining

“Plausible deniability refers to the denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible.”

DSchoen on January 17, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Sadly, I’m afraid this site has lost a lot of credibility over this whole affair.

Cylor on January 17, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Comment pages: 1 2