The Washington Post recently sat down to interview Obama spox Robert Gibbs, and in the middle of it the issue of Obama’s use of a teleprompter came up:
MS. [LOIS] ROMANO: The teleprompter changed last night.
MR. GIBBS: Mm-hmm.
MS. ROMANO: What was that about that? It’s a big jumbotron now.
MR. GIBBS: You know can I tell you this?
MS. ROMANO: Yes.
MR. GIBBS: I am absolutely amazed that anybody in America cares about who the President picks at a news conference or the mechanism by which he reads his prepared remarks. You know, I guess America is a wonderful country.
MS. ROMANO: You’re saying this is all Washington Beltway stuff?
MR. GIBBS: I don’t even know if it’s that. I don’t think I should implicate the many people that live in Washington.
MR. GIBBS: No, I you know, I don’t think the President let me just say this: My historical research has demonstrated that the President is not the first to use prepared remarks nor the first to use a teleprompter.
MR. GIBBS: I think using the teleprompter last night was a way of talking directly to the American people.
I have joked that from now on, just so the President we could liven things up, that we’re actually going to remove every third word, sort of like a Madlib, and he could add in there what he wants to tell people so that there would be a little bit more excitement in it.
MR. GIBBS: The President thought it was a good idea.
But doesn’t he do that already?
Seriously, this is not an “issue” by any means, but if Gibbs wants to know why certain folks like to tease Obama and Democrats who have fawned for years over his eloquence, it’s because we had to sit back for eight years and deal with all the silly cracks and cruel criticisms over Bush’s stumbling over his words ever so often, as his lack of ability to give a killer speech was “proof” of his “stupidity.” How many “Bushisms” lists did we see over the course of the last eight years? Too many to count. So Gibbs should consider this a bit of payback to those same Democrats, because Obama has not only shown that he has a gift for gaffes as well, but he’s demonstrated an ability to stumble over his own words when he goes off script. Is this “proof” of Obama’s “stupidity,” too? Or, unlike Bush, does this just make him “more human”?
There’s nothing wrong with the use of the teleprompter in and of itself, as many presidents have utilized them over the years, but the fact that our “brilliant” President relies on it more heavily that most presidents in modern history, as per The Politico and the Obama-adoring New York Times – which reported that Obama “uses them for everyday routine announcements, and even for the opening statement at his news conference,” and went on to say that “while some of his predecessors liked to extemporize, Mr. Obama prefers the message to be just so” – well, Gibbs honestly didn’t expect Obama’s critics to let pass by without comment the fact that Obama’s over-reliance on the teleprompter is probably a big factor in why he fumbles over his words so often, did he?
Oh wait, I forgot … we must “give him time” to let his plans “work,” to let him get used to the office, its responsiblities, and the sheer volume of speeches, comments, and statements he has to give. My bad …