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 obamaisms@edmorrissey.com 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.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!


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Comment pages: 1 2

I blame TOTUS for opening his mouth.

Electrongod on January 17, 2011 at 8:08 AM

Though I agree w/ you, Ed, that the speech was excellent, applause signs at a memorial service is about as Obamateuristic as one can get!

itsnotaboutme on January 17, 2011 at 8:09 AM

It’s all shameless propoganda, all about Obama.

disa on January 17, 2011 at 8:09 AM

It’s all about The O.

JammieWearingFool on January 17, 2011 at 8:09 AM

they won’t make the same mistake again.

Like having him there to begin with.

Electrongod on January 17, 2011 at 8:09 AM

And if the captions were for the deaf, even they could hear the happy feet of the audience that night.

Electrongod on January 17, 2011 at 8:11 AM

My guess is that if they arrange to have Obama speak at any more memorials, they won’t make the same mistake again.

It would be a mistake to assume that they would not make that mistake again. A circular firing squad rarely misses.

Yoop on January 17, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Imagine the Gettysburg Address on the Jumbotron.

Disturb the Universe on January 17, 2011 at 8:12 AM

A good friend of mine and internet warrior, posted this on his FB and boy did it spread… Some of the comments indicated that the applause sign was up there for the hearing impaired. Glad to see this is getting cleared up.

Keemo on January 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM

kinda reminds me of when Fiona was gonna married in Shrek, All the dumb goons holding up the applause sighns.

SHARPTOOTH on January 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM

He could have controlled that dsgusting crowd.That he did not speaks volumes.

katy the mean old lady on January 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Never let a crisis go to waste….
Pretty obvious this was in play once again by these sicko’s.

Keemo on January 17, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Can’t we just agree that regardless of the speech, he let his supporters go hog a$$ wild for four days before reining them in? To great affect I might add.

Cindy Munford on January 17, 2011 at 8:15 AM

My guess is that if they arrange to have Obama speak at any more memorials, they won’t make the same mistake again.

They will come up with new ones.

forest on January 17, 2011 at 8:17 AM

Eh. I think there’s enough stupidity here to go around. I’d like to think the organizers weren’t so tone deaf as to fish for applause at a memorial service. And I can believe the captions onscreen were from the same caption feed going out to people at home, so it would make sense to include an Applause caption for the hearing impaired. And I could also be persuaded that the rushed organizers didn’t catch the problem until it was too late.

Sure, I can go with all that. On the other hand, If Bush Had Done It (pat. pend.)….

apostic on January 17, 2011 at 8:19 AM

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.

I’ve seen a few sites where they’ve accused the WH of planning these “cues” for the audience and in their comments they’ve been pointed out with clear explanation the workings of closed captioning. I haven’t seen any of them place corrections. I personally, feel that does harm to our cause giving them fodder to ‘prove’ that we on the right won’t listen to facts and just stick to our meme. There’s plenty to fault Obama with on his pep rally – this isn’t one of them.

The captions were probably captioned live – which is common practice even during prepped speeches in case the speaker goes off script. Unless there is proof that this was pre-captioned text just loaded into the machines, this argument is weak at best, and untrue and deceiving at worst.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Michelle’s site had the Virginia Tech memorial and Bush’s speech. It was silent, it was reverent, it was respectful.

Maybe Obama should stop blaming GWB for everything and watch how a real President should act in moments like these. He could learn a lot.

gophergirl on January 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Applause indicators in a memorial speech? Wow. Sounds like he was really thinking about how to honor the dead and boost his ratings at the same time.

tims472 on January 17, 2011 at 8:21 AM

My guess is that if they arrange to have Obama speak at any more memorials, they won’t make the same mistake again

Maybe not, but when you have no class, no morals, no principles, no empathy there will be other “mistakes”. Which is why I marvel at the endless fodder for the OOTD…Truly breath taking. AND there will always be those who chalk it up as an honest mistake by the well intentioned. They assume obama has a good grasp on right and wrong…I argue it never crosses his mind, just how do i take advantage…

winston on January 17, 2011 at 8:22 AM

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.

Orwellstonian…or something.

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 8:23 AM

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.

Are you not entertained?

/Gladiator

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Orwellstonian…or something.

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Well done.

myrenovations on January 17, 2011 at 8:26 AM

Per link: the woman who took the photo has pulled it and is threatening to sue.

Disturb the Universe on January 17, 2011 at 8:27 AM

The captions were probably captioned live – which is common practice even during prepped speeches in case the speaker goes off script. Unless there is proof that this was pre-captioned text just loaded into the machines, this argument is weak at best, and untrue and deceiving at worst.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Sorry pal, this was not a “delay”, it was real time…meaning it was placed in before the speech, not during.
If it was during then their would have been a delay, sometimes slight, sometimes more, but still a delay. This was right on cue.
But thanks for trying to bail him out, it was a good try…

right2bright on January 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Ed, get over it. It was NOT “a very good speech”. For any other President other than this one it would be merely a competent speech. The only thing that made this one stand out for him is that it actually sounded Presidential. A first in over two years in office for him.

Jim708 on January 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM

A first in over two years in office for him.

Jim708 on January 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM

“A first in over two years” [APPLAUSE]
“A first in over two years” [APPLAUSE]
“in over two years” [APPLAUSE]
“A first in over two years” [APPLAUSE]

Electrongod on January 17, 2011 at 8:32 AM

right2bright on January 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM

…and to add, as a “leader” he could have raised his hand and calmed the crowd down, instead of basking in the applause and cheers. But then that would have been a waste of time for him to come without that addition of a little campaigning.

right2bright on January 17, 2011 at 8:33 AM

…and to add, as a “leader” he could have raised his hand and calmed the crowd down, instead of basking in the applause and cheers.
right2bright on January 17, 2011 at 8:33 AM

that part might not have been on TOTUS. If it’s not on TOTUS, then it ain’t happening.

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 8:35 AM

For those who argue that the [applause] on the Jumbotron was just part of the closed captioning, I say B.S. Closed captioning is for the deaf. Those deaf people who were reading the closed captioning are DEAF, not BLIND. Don’t you think they would see people applauding, so why would they need to be told people were applauding?

NoNails on January 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM

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.

Correct

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.

Wrong. The WH had perfect control over this. From the fact that Obama took 5 days to comment, which allowed his minions to blame the Right, to the University setting(he could have requested a more appropriate venue), to the applause and shirts and concessions to the newly gray hair on his head.
Of all the most recent Presidents this one and his staff have exercised the most control over public appearances. If they were that controlling over a small press gathering or visit wouldn’t they have been much more so over a large important event such as this? Of course they were. Nice try Ed.

Deanna on January 17, 2011 at 8:37 AM

What do you expect from a President who dies his hair? It’s all about him. The key to the speech was the instruction to Obama: remember it’s pronounced jobe, not job.

Basilsbest on January 17, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Were “Together we thrive” t-shirts produced by OFA?

exdeadhead on January 17, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Ed, get over it. It was NOT “a very good speech”. For any other President other than this one it would be merely a competent speech. The only thing that made this one stand out for him is that it actually sounded Presidential. A first in over two years in office for him.

Jim708 on January 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Get over the tingles, Ed. I agree with Jim708 and most other commenters here that this Death Theater was out of control and an unseemly embarrassment. It’s all about the O. And they’d do it again. They just can’t help themselves. Another Wellstone moment…brought to us by Libtards.

MainelyRight on January 17, 2011 at 8:41 AM

What do you expect from a President who dies his hair? It’s all about him. The key to the speech was the instruction to Obama: remember it’s pronounced jobe, not job.

Basilsbest on January 17, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Love it! Great comment.

MainelyRight on January 17, 2011 at 8:42 AM

The captions were probably captioned live – which is common practice even during prepped speeches in case the speaker goes off script.

Yeah, as someone who sent the picture of the jumbotron to Ed a couple days ago, I noticed this shortly afterwards…

ninjapirate on January 17, 2011 at 8:43 AM

What do you expect from a President who dies his hair? It’s all about him. The key to the speech was the instruction to Obama: remember it’s pronounced jobe, not job.

Basilsbest on January 17, 2011 at 8:38 AM

did he mispronounce “Job?” Did he say Jaahb? another corpseman moment?

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 8:44 AM

It seems like Ed and AP are determined to love Obama’s speech despite the mediocre wording, complete lack of respect for the victims and their families, the fact that “Together We Thrive” was used by OFA, despite the fact that Obama waited 4 (5?) days to say anything and despite the fact that he claimed rhetoric had nothing to do with the shooting and then went on to lecture the American people on rhetoric.

I ain’t buying it, and I’m pretty disappointed that Ed is. Somehow I’m not as surprised by Allah.

Pattosensei on January 17, 2011 at 8:47 AM

The speech may have been good, rhetorically, Ed. The problem is that no one here believes it was genuine. I can think of nothing more absurd in politics in my lifetime than the democrats of 2011 lecturing anyone on civility. It is insulting, and will only serve to harden the partisan divide. Conservatives, tea partiers, and Republicans have been smeared by the president, other members of the president’s party, and his supporters in the media in truly abhorrent ways. Now he’s worried about his re-election prospects. So he opportunistically jumps on this “both sides do it” narrative, while cynically invoking the name of a murdered child. It might resonate with his supporters, but it isn’t selling anywhere else. As I said, it’s insulting. And disgusting. Because he doesn’t mean a single word of it. So consider this new strategy nothing more than the old-fashioned adding insult to injury. That doesn’t lead to “civility.” It’s just more of the same dishonesty, with its hubris and shamelessness ramped up. It hasn’t made him appear a better president. It’s made him appear even worse than we had imagined. Do you understand that?

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

My guess is that if they arrange to have Obama speak at any more memorials, they won’t make the same mistake again.

My guess is that they won’t arrange for Obama to speak at any more memorials…at least not any on a college campus.

ladyingray on January 17, 2011 at 8:51 AM

To date, and two years in, this WH has controlled every dynamic possible. The evidence that Obama and his organizers are absolute control freaks is over whelming. Yes, it’s all about image, with a keen eye on covering up the substance.

Keemo on January 17, 2011 at 8:51 AM

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

I’m not certain anyone has said they believe it was genuine. I never have. I have merely said it was a good speech.

ladyingray on January 17, 2011 at 8:52 AM

The speech may have been good, rhetorically, Ed. The problem is that no one here believes it was genuine…. it’s insulting. And disgusting. Because he doesn’t mean a single word of it. So consider this new strategy nothing more than the old-fashioned adding insult to injury. That doesn’t lead to “civility.” It’s just more of the same dishonesty, with its hubris and shamelessness ramped up. It hasn’t made him appear a better president. It’s made him appear even worse than we had imagined. Do you understand that?

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

Exactly!

MainelyRight on January 17, 2011 at 8:52 AM

The theory that the “Applause” signs were on the screen for the hearing impaired is illogical and doesn’t wash. If a hearing impaired person was following the speech on the screen wouldn’t they make their own decision to applaud or not if a particular part of the speech moved them to it? Or is this an indication that whoever put the “Applause” tags up on the screen believes that the hearing impaired are too stupid to make their own decisions and must be told when to applaud? After all, there wasn’t a person standing on the stage next to Obama yelling to the non-hearing impaired to applaud at certain points in the speech.

Nope, the “Applause” tags were inserted into the speech by the White House…all part of the stage management to glorify Obama.

Trafalgar on January 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM

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

You just put words to my thoughts/feelings very well… Thanks for that…

Keemo on January 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I give thanks to the Jumbotron as it is a no legged creature that flies high among the wigged ones.

Electrongod on January 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM

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’ll concede it could have been closed captioning and since I’m not familiar with it I’m not sure how it works. Either way I can just see this crowd (students) looking up and seeing [applause] and thinking it’s a cue for them to go even wilder with the clapping. It was so distracting and irritating I couldn’t really catch all that the speakers were saying half the time. It reminded me of the SOTU and Pelosi standing behind Obama and jumping up and down clapping.

atxcowgirl on January 17, 2011 at 8:54 AM

uh yeah, and the Wellstone memorial pep rally was spontaneous too.

every second of the Tucson memorial pep rally was planned.

Did you not see the “Together we Thrive” bit? (circa2008)

Don’t be so ignorant to think that was not intentional.
http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_011411/content/01125106.guest.html

RealMc on January 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM

they won’t make the same mistake again.

It was not a mistake. It was done purposely so as to not waste a perfectly good crisis. It was a hat tip the base as Obama starts his move to the center. Thankfully, the progressives are so close to their insane goal of Marxism, that they will vehemently resist any moderation to the center on Obama’s part. Obama will lose 10% of his base, at least half of the indies, and all conservatives. This will prompt a primary challenge to Obama, and more than likely, a serious third party run. The Marxist panacea is too close for the Reid/Pelosi crackpots to stop now. Doubling down will be the attitude going forward to 2012.

csdeven on January 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Get over the tingles, Ed. I agree with Jim708 and most other commenters here that this Death Theater was out of control and an unseemly embarrassment. It’s all about the O. And they’d do it again. They just can’t help themselves. Another Wellstone moment…brought to us by Libtards.

MainelyRight on January 17, 2011 at 8:41 AM

+1000
It’s a little frightening to see Ed and Allah continuing to toot the One’s horn in all of this. From Greek columns to the absence of the flag pin, etc, etc, etc. This admin does nothing that would be considered “unstaged.” From the moment they started planning to attend the “memorial” they saw Blue.

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Sorry pal, this was not a “delay”, it was real time…meaning it was placed in before the speech, not during.
If it was during then their would have been a delay, sometimes slight, sometimes more, but still a delay. This was right on cue.
But thanks for trying to bail him out, it was a good try…

right2bright on January 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Did you see real time video? Closed captioners are quite proficient in keeping up with speakers. They don’t use standard keyboards but something more like what is used for court reporting. You can dis me all you want in trying to make the One look bad – but I’d rather be honest in my criticism, not make things up to fit my meme. I’ll leave that for the leftists.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Real time closed captions often have typos. Any on the screen?

publiuspen on January 17, 2011 at 9:06 AM

I’ll concede it could have been closed captioning and since I’m not familiar with it I’m not sure how it works. Either way I can just see this crowd (students) looking up and seeing [applause] and thinking it’s a cue for them to go even wilder with the clapping. It was so distracting and irritating I couldn’t really catch all that the speakers were saying half the time. It reminded me of the SOTU and Pelosi standing behind Obama and jumping up and down clapping.

atxcowgirl on January 17, 2011 at 8:54 AM

But to fault what is common practice in closed captioning and saying this somehow makes Obama a lout is dishonest. He was wrong for passing out t-shirts, he was wrong to not quelling the applause, he was wrong for not speaking out 4 days earlier. We all fault the left when they mislead in an attempt to scroe political points – it’s no better when done on the right.

And trust me, I am the last one to defend the One – but I am always one to defend the truth.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM

So you’re telling us that Obaowma couldn’t have told P-lousey to stay home and watch the event on TV? This was and will always be remembered as, the Demoncrats taking advantage of the deaths to kick off Campaign 2012. Lets check his billion $ re-election fund and see if any expenditures went to Tuscon.

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM

The man read a poll-tested speech written by others off a teleprompter – OMG, it was the best ever!!! And I’m still not convinced about their un-involvement with the t-shirts. If the “Together we thrive” message is any part of the re-elect campaign, I believe it proves the t-shirts were there idea.

PatMac on January 17, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Real time closed captions often have typos. Any on the screen?

publiuspen on January 17, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Impossible to tell. The ONLY screencap that everyone is using to jump to this more than likely false conclusion has 2 words – ‘school. [applause].’

Come on guys – granted, this is nowhere near the level of false accusations lobbed by the left last week, but it’s dissimilar obly in degree not kind – the whole premise of this Obamateurism is based on shaky ground and no proof. And no, the pic isn’t proof for the very reasons I’ve stated above.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:12 AM

keep arguing about the pros/cons of closed captioning. Who’s watching the LEFT hand??

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:13 AM

The theory that the “Applause” signs were on the screen for the hearing impaired is illogical and doesn’t wash. If a hearing impaired person was following the speech on the screen wouldn’t they make their own decision to applaud or not if a particular part of the speech moved them to it? Or is this an indication that whoever put the “Applause” tags up on the screen believes that the hearing impaired are too stupid to make their own decisions and must be told when to applaud? After all, there wasn’t a person standing on the stage next to Obama yelling to the non-hearing impaired to applaud at certain points in the speech.

Nope, the “Applause” tags were inserted into the speech by the White House…all part of the stage management to glorify Obama.

Trafalgar on January 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM

As I said before:

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.

They aren’t commands or cues to applaud – they are indicators of sounds happening so deaf viewers get a better idea of everything that’s going on. Geez, people – 4 years at a TV station, I know captioning.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:15 AM

I wonder if the “Together We Thrive” motto is a cribbing of the popular praise and worship song “Together We Rise”. Watch this video, read the lyrics and think about the chorus where it uses the words–together, rise, united, fight etc. Pretty eerie similarity if you ask me.

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 9:15 AM

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:12 AM

I understand your point however, where do you find the confidence to give this regime the benefit of the doubt? Just baffles me. If anything they have created the mistrust and skepticism through their agenda and tactics for the first two years. But go right ahead and trust the snake.

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:16 AM

keep arguing about the pros/cons of closed captioning. Who’s watching the LEFT hand??

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:13 AM

It’s not about closed captioning – it’s keeping the arguments on our side honest. If we run with every unverified rumor and ill-informed assumption, we become like the boy who cried wolf – it cheapens our legitimate arguments.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I understand your point however, where do you find the confidence to give this regime the benefit of the doubt? Just baffles me. If anything they have created the mistrust and skepticism through their agenda and tactics for the first two years. But go right ahead and trust the snake.

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:16 AM

It’s not about trust – it’s about knowing the business and making an honest assessment.

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I still feel bad for the families. That the O Admin would use their tragedy to kick off his 2012 campaign is in very bad taste.

Key West Reader on January 17, 2011 at 9:21 AM

ok but your drilling down on the closed captioning thing. I am referring to the campaign rally as a whole. I do not think the jumbotron and what did or did not run across it is relevant. My point is, the One would not have been there if he could not have control of such things which to me, equals he had control of everything.

screwauger on January 17, 2011 at 9:22 AM

The green-lighting of the T-shirts remains the most egregious thing Team Obama permitted last Wednesday, because that in turn created the air for and the idea among the U of A students in attendance that this really was a rally more about Obama than about the dead, wounded and their families. And that in turn, set up the problem with the applause lines — whether or not they were intended to prompt the audience, the chances are the White House staff thought they’d been getting that polite, deferential type of applause reserved for Very Important Political Occasions, not the type when Fred used to get off a really good zinger against Aunt Esther on “Sanford and Son”.

Once you turn on the deification spigot the way Team Obama did in 2008, don’t be surprised if among the believers who are both hard-core and less savvy, you can’t just turn it off when the situation suits you.

jon1979 on January 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Obama’s speech was good…until he went on too long. The objectionable part was after he should have put a period to the “rhetoric did not cause or influence the shooting” part. Everything after that, up to and including his returning (he had already eulogized all of those killed, including her) to little Christina, was used to push a political agenda (“let’s tone down the rhetoric”, which we all know is code for “shut up, Republicans”) and undermined and in fact contradicted the declaration that drew so much admiration from left and right.

I thought closed-captioning was done as it’s given, not put up going by text provided beforehand. If it’s the former, I can see how applause would be put in by whoever’s running it. If it’s in the prepared text…Just damn, talk about standing on bloodied corpses.

Cindy Cooper on January 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM

How is a presidential administration, whose secret service is aware of everything within a given radius, not in control of an event in which the president speaks? Maybe the TSA should handle the president’s security from now on. Maybe a morning of groping by government employees would put the crowd in a more reflective mood.

Besides that…

The speech was full of fluff and progressive-speak!

As for the content of the speech that he got right, I wonder what the speech looked like before Palin’s address.

pugwriter on January 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM

miConsevative on January 17, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Your argument would hold water if not for the rising tone at which Obama would reach applause points and how he would wait out the applause with his usual smug-face (looking slightly up, semi-smile).

I guess even though Obama didn’t expect applause from his speech, when he heard the lively crowd he just went with it and, even though he hadn’t practiced it, he ad-libbed various crescendos in his tone and repeated “She opened her eyes” in the heat of the moment. He couldn’t help it. He was just so exciting that everyone was cheering because those people died and he got to speak.

But it’s all good. He did a great job. I mean look at how he healed the rhetorical divide in the country. What memorial service? Oh yeah, that! He had a touching story about rain puddles in heaven or something. By the way, did you get one of those cool T-shirts! I’m gonna hawk mine on E-bay.

/sarc

Pattosensei on January 17, 2011 at 9:32 AM

As I said on another thread, someone on another site suggested that it could have been intended as a close-captioned thing for deaf people.

Some people responded, why would such a thing be on a Jumbotron?

And I say, why not? Why else would “applause” be inserted? Hearing people (of which I am one) would be looking at the Jumbotron only to see the president (and that often only occasionally and obliquely), not to read along with what he was saying. Whereas it would be annotated for deaf people, if it was being typed as he spoke.

I’m not saying this was the case, but – could it not be?

As for the rest of what you say – good try, no cigar. I think the speech was good. I think Obama himself looked uncomfortable with the audience behavior. I think it is clear everyone on the whole program was rather taken aback by it.

BUT. It is his people who approved the whole thing: Who choose to have a bunch of college kids and bussed in union members in a giant auditorium, and who approved the t-shirts and concession stands, and the printed slogan.

Moreover, he could have at any time, as Laura Ingraham pointed out, raised his hand and said something on the order of, “Please.” He could have said to hold the applause. He could have reminded them gently that it was a memorial. Do not tell me he could not have done this. (As could the idiot university president who was running it.)

The fact is, Obama was not in control. That is one thing that struck me while I was watching it – that no one was in control, not even Obama. It was actually a little frightening to witness.

Alana on January 17, 2011 at 9:34 AM

He could have controlled that dsgusting crowd.That he did not speaks volumes.

katy the mean old lady on January 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Another excellent point.

pugwriter on January 17, 2011 at 9:36 AM

He was just so exciting excited

I was in Japan too long…

Pattosensei on January 17, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Can’t we just agree that regardless of the speech, he let his supporters go hog a$$ wild for four days before reining them in? To great affect I might add.

Cindy Munford on January 17, 2011 at 8:15 AM

But he didn’t rein them in, they’re still going wild. It never stopped. Even before Obama used the rhetorical trick in his speech others had started to do the “Even though there’s no evidence Loughner was directly influenced, there’s an atmosphere conducive to it” trick, that Obama also used in a subtle (for him) fashion. Any reading of the NYT and other media shows there was no backing down, no ending of trying to blame the right.

Cindy Cooper on January 17, 2011 at 9:38 AM

I liked the speech. I liked Palin’s speech. I thought the kids sort of ruined the atmosphere, and the university blew it by letting too many of them in.

But, the swooning, to me anyway, is really all about a collective sigh of relief from pundits who wee-wee’d over this guys “oratory” skills. In truth? His speeches have been flat, monotone, and rather prosaic. This was the only one that even had a bit of heart.

And I thought that was the biggest indicator that he’s actually kicked off his reelection campaign.

I’ve long thought that the only thing he has passion for is his own career.

AnninCA on January 17, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Hey, anyone see this over at Althouse’s site?

“America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness… We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment.”

Who said that?

George W. Bush — at his first Inaugural Address.

That’s what it looks like when presidents say things they mean. See the difference?

Oh, and remember how the left was all over that speech, planning to sit with Republicans at the SOTU and apologizing for “doing it, too”? Yeah. Me neither. Because when Obama and the democrats say such things, it’s a tactic.

Rational Thought on January 17, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I’d go more for the T-shirts handed out at a memorial with a political logo on them, but there needed to be something to acknowledge that the memorial was treated like a campaign rally.

There’s at least a case to be made that the applause indicators were simply recording the applause that was going on, even if I find the argument weak. But the t-shirts and concession stand were just inappropriate for a memorial by any measure.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Good speech or not, this campaign kick off should be the OOTY.
And it is only January.

ORconservative on January 17, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Let’s see, applause tags, t-shirts… hmmmm… Obama’s greatest speech, Evah!

WordsMatter on January 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

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

He could have stopped them with a word and given the event the solemnity it deserved. He chose to campaign.

Oldnuke on January 17, 2011 at 10:14 AM

The pep rally went off just as Organizing for America planned it. There were no mistakes…”We love you, Obama”.

d1carter on January 17, 2011 at 10:22 AM

“Get your Redhots! Pretzels! Memorial souvenir magazines! Beer here!”

Shy Guy on January 17, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I wonder if they put the new beer cup filler to use at this one…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ4g6PUlxgw

ted c on January 17, 2011 at 10:32 AM

HOW MANY MULLIGANS DOES ONE PRESIDENT DESERVE!

Obama’s had about a million already. ENOUGH.

I watched the first 2 minutes of the MEmorial and went to bed. It was crass and disgusting. The more we know about it, the more crass it becomes. Just political theatre AS USUAL.

Good speech?! Who cares? The cynical, calculating and crass tone of the event IS OBAMA’S RESPONSIBILITY. HOLD HIIM ACCOUNTABLE.

mountainaires on January 17, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Let’s face it, O could read a really great speech, but it would be lost in the political deep woods campaigning that he has always done. Campaign slogan T shirts and nanny speak at a memorial service? Get real! Hope his reading from Job wasn’t a preview of coming attractions for all of us.

Kissmygrits on January 17, 2011 at 10:35 AM

they chose…..poorly

cmsinaz on January 17, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Speech was written by a 30 man from Chicago and Obama delivered it to the public like a pizza delivery man. Credit to the speech writer and the people responsible for programming the prompter. He probably wasn’t responsible for the applause note added to the big prompter but someone was. To me it was a circus not a memorial presentation. I was shocked with the “T” shirts, what a bunch of nitwits in the administration that constantly embarrass the President world wide.

mixplix on January 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The speech may have been good, rhetorically, Ed. The problem is that no one here believes it was genuine. I can think of nothing more absurd in politics in my lifetime than the democrats of 2011 lecturing anyone on civility. It is insulting, and will only serve to harden the partisan divide. Conservatives, tea partiers, and Republicans have been smeared by the president, other members of the president’s party, and his supporters in the media in truly abhorrent ways. Now he’s worried about his re-election prospects. So he opportunistically jumps on this “both sides do it” narrative, while cynically invoking the name of a murdered child. It might resonate with his supporters, but it isn’t selling anywhere else. As I said, it’s insulting. And disgusting. Because he doesn’t mean a single word of it. So consider this new strategy nothing more than the old-fashioned adding insult to injury. That doesn’t lead to “civility.” It’s just more of the same dishonesty, with its hubris and shamelessness ramped up. It hasn’t made him appear a better president. It’s made him appear even worse than we had imagined. Do you understand that?

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

Worth repeating. Again. And again. And again.

GrannyDee on January 17, 2011 at 10:56 AM

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

[APPLAUSE]

:)

Shy Guy on January 17, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Worth repeating. Again. And again. And again.

GrannyDee on January 17, 2011 at 10:56 AM

amen sister

cmsinaz on January 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Has anyone seen one of the Together We Thrive t-shirts and confirmed this?:

If you were a mourner who took home a “Together We Thrive” T-shirt have a look at the bottom of your shirt. “Rocking America and Rocking the Vote” is a common theme of the DNC, and it’s right there on your Memorial T-shirt memento.

Or do I misunderstand what’s being said here?

Buy Danish on January 17, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I didn’t know about the applause signs but you can bet your bippie that the administration did. There is nothing that they do that isn’t tightly controlled.

I can’t believe this! It is obvious that Obama just read a speech that some creative writer wrote. Why do you media guys (old and new) give him any credit at all while knowing about all this other crap?!

Then you people give Palin a hard time for being scripted!!! Quit thinking that you have to be fair when you have to realize that you are being controlled like a puppet.

Vince on January 17, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Well, for those that think the [APPLAUSE] tags were added on the fly by someone doing the transcribing, why did not some WH staffer put a stop to it?

After all, they maintain they were totally surprised by it. A quick word would have been all it would take. They did, after all applaude slightly more than once.

Jim708 on January 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM

This was not a good speech. A good speech would have to be one that was given to an audiance from a knowledgeable speaker with an understanding of what he is saying and why he is saying it. Obama does not give those type of speeches. It was at best a good performance of a speech.

What is a national shame is that this was another example of not letting a good crises go to waste. It was a national exposure for him in a setting that would be sympathatic, or should have been. Applause has no place in a memorial let alone being scripted in.

The statement that presidents approve their speeches might hold true for working presidents, but the evidence of stumbling, lack of knowledge of what he was saying or trying to say, reading the wrong speech without realizing it was not his, having to tell someone that it was someone else’s job to answer a basic question about what he had just said, all indicate that he is just an actor reading the script. To say he actually read his speech would be a first in indications that he actually works on something that does not involve sports, vacations and photo ops.

The greying hair is another indication of crises not being wasted. All presidents age dramantically, with the exception of Obama. He has to make it look like he is aging and therfore more knowledgeable. At other times, such as vacations among the rich, he needs to look young. His hair is a prop in this act in the White House. Most likely it is not even his choice on what color his hair is for the event anymore than what is in the text of the speech he reads.

Franklyn on January 17, 2011 at 11:49 AM

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.

Thanks for confirming this, Ed. This seemed so incredible to me that I at first doubted it. But now that it is fact, this demolishes the notion that this event wasn’t choreographed like a freakin puppet show.

I wonder if CK still thinks it was a great speech. The JUMBOTRON thought so.

Spread the word. THIS IS BEYOND THE PALE.

Geochelone on January 17, 2011 at 11:50 AM

So many were fooled, again. Therein is the big shame.

Fool me twice, shame definitely not on Obama.

“In an electrifying moment, the president revealed that Giffords, who … was shot point-blank in the head, opened her eyes for the first time shortly after his hospital visit[.]” Obama’s comment was obliquely suggestive of Jesus saying, “Talitha koum!” (That means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”)

Like a faith healer working the crowd with stirring images, Obama painted a picture of his presence in a room stimulating a response from a woman in a coma. The crowd and the nation was so taken by the whole affair that in one sentence, Obama went up in the polls, sent tingles up the leg of pundits on both the right and the left, probably settled the Arizona lawsuit, and quelled any further opposition to health care reform.

Nevertheless, as a person who prides herself on recognizing the genuine from the counterfeit, it appeared to me as if Vicar of Veracity Barack Obama, in Christina’s stead, was attempting to “jump in rain puddles” by quoting from Job. Unknowingly, Obama revealed the underlying spirit of the service with words from Job 30:26 that, when spoken in context, say, “Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.”

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Wellstone memorial redux.

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Not surprised that Ed and AP are still breathing heavy.
Michelle is no longer here to give us the alternative view so the posters must keep it on tract.
The jumbotron has nothing to do with it–This was brought to light long after we listened to the campaign rally and were
amazed by the together we thrive(WTH does that have to do with the memorial?)blue t shirts. Did anyone see what was on the red shirts that the leaders wore?

dragondrop on January 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM

That not-so-thinly-veiled speech could have and should have been given from the Oval Office. Then the point would have taken the politics out of the whole event. The fact that Napolitano and Holder attended, as well as a number of Democrat politicians, skewed the point of the whole exercise.

Yes, Giffords was a victim of a screwball with no particular political identification, but there were many others affected directly through death and injuries, as well as indirectly through the attacks of an irresponsible media and a grandstanding sherriff.

The shootings had nothing to do with the rhetoric or “tone” of heightened partisanship. Preacher Obama used and abused the occasion to further his own agenda with more of his vacuous rhetoric.

Today, he is using the MLK holiday to beat his favorite hobby horse of pushing “service” on to the American people, just as he denigrates the anniversary of September 11 to do the same. ObaMao sees the nation’s citizens as pawns to be emotionally manipulated on behalf of the State, which takes upon itself the role of deciding how we pursue our happiness.

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

None of what the university had prepared would have occurred without the vetting of the security forces and knowledge of the WH.

OFA provided the tee shirts, and with that strategy in place, the speechifying became little more than an opportunity for the big O to pander to his remaining base—college students whose critical-thinking skills and economic investment via taxes are shallow at best.

onlineanalyst on January 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM

It is ALL so silly…

Like the T-shirts:
Despite all the claims to the contrary, it was a mis-print. Wasn’t supposed to be “Together We Thrive”
It was supposed to be “Together We Hive”

As in “Hive Mind”.
Not an independent thought among that audience, not an independent thought amongst the media (Including FOX and HotAir ‘anchors’) .

And that’s the way that 0bama and the Puppet Masters want it.

LegendHasIt on January 17, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Does anyone even remember what used to be the benchmarks for extraordinary oratory? They used to be delivery/style, substance, and impact. The delivery was more comparable to a tent revival than a memorial. There wasn’t one line of Zero’s speech that anyone will ever remember, let alone quote. There was an impact all right, just not the intended impact. There is zero chance of Zero ever being compared to Demosthenes.

MayorDaley on January 17, 2011 at 12:27 PM

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