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Elections, Politics

Obama hits the campaign trail without the teleprompter

Posted: July 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm   /   by

Everybody needs a little help sometimes.  That’s why there are multiple choice tests, GPS, and for Presidential candidates, a teleprompter.

See, teleprompter and Mr. President were best friends in 2007 and 2008.  They went pretty much everywhere together, and teleprompter would provide Obama with soaring rhetoric and perfectly-phrased speeches.  But now people are starting to laugh at him for dragging around his scrawny little friend that talks too much.  So the President is trying not to be seen with teleprompter.  Things aren’t going so smoothly.

For example, at the National Urban League, the President told the audience, “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals — (applause) — that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

This is a pretty absurd statement considering that is exactly what the Obama Department of Justice under Eric Holder did.  It’s the type of statement that probably wouldn’t have occurred if he had been reading pre-written and carefully-edited comments off of a teleprompter.  At least part of the reason for that is that the Avtomat Kalashnikov was originally produced by the Soviets and later used by the Viet Cong, Sandinistas, and Afghani mujahedeen, so it’s a little awkward to hear the U.S. President advocating for soldiers to have them.

The economy has also not been the easiest subject for the President to tackle without the help of his teleprompter.  In response to a weak jobs report, he said the economy was “doing fine,” an assessment that is clearly out of line with the situation on the ground.  And it’s not the only time he’s ever dispensed similar statements without the electronic aide.  In Oakland, California, he told an audience, “Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked.”  Even putting aside other dismal economic news, it’s still a totally inappropriate remark to make in a city where the official unemployment rate is 13.7%.

The President’s most infamous gaffe so far in this campaign may also be attributed to the lack of a teleprompter.  “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”  Those are fighting words, and it’s unlikely they would have made it in the final draft as produced by one of his speechwriters.  It turns out that again, this is what Obama sounds like without his trusty teleprompter there telling him what to say.

The thing is, none of this would matter if his rhetoric and actions without the teleprompter matched up with the carefully-worded statements that appear on the screen.  These statements wouldn’t seem so ridiculous if Operation Fast and Furious had never happened, or if his plan had successfully gotten unemployment under 7%.  But since the economy hasn’t improved on his watch, it seems a little premature for Obama to declare victory on the issue while simultaneously going after business owners.  It’s clear, based on the discrepancy between what Obama candidly says and what his prepared remarks tell him to say, that “somebody else built” the Obama we all knew and loved, and in the absence of that magical electronic spark from the teleprompter, we are only now getting to see what’s really there.

Hannah Thoreson

Hannah Thoreson is a science and technology writer based in northern Virginia. She earned a physics degree from Arizona State University in 2012 and has been causing trouble ever since.

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Obama hits the campaign trail without the teleprompter