John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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The Teleprompter

Posted on January 25, 2010

The Teleprompter




My good friend Adam Belmar stormed into my office this morning, asking pointedly if I saw the Drudge Report yet.

I said that I hadn’t.

He said, “take a look at the picture of the President.  He is using a teleprompter in a classroom.  What is up with this guy?”

Belmar knows a thing or two about staging a President.  He was in charge of doing exactly that for President Bush.  Say what you will about Bush, but he was always staged properly.  Adam never would have let this picture happen.

The teleprompter is now a familiar part of the image of Barack Obama.  It has become ubiquitous.  What used to be reserved for big time speeches for previous POTUS’s, is now used by this POTUS for everything.  I wonder if he uses a teleprompter to say good morning to his wife.

Every day, Mr. Obama is becoming slightly less authentic.  He looks scripted, chiefly because he makes no pretense about looking scripted.  If you have to use a teleprompter in a classroom, it leads to questions about who is really running this country.

Joe Biden famously made a joke about Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter last year.  It was a funny joke everywhere but in the West Wing.  But nobody is really laughing at this President right now.  They are wondering if he has what it takes to get the job done.

The worst thing about the President’s teleprompter fixation is that he prefers to put it at a higher angle, which paints an unflattering picture of the President.  He looks as if he is looking down on the American people.

And frankly, he acts like he is looking down on the American people.  When he says that the troubles that face his Administration is a “failure to communicate”, he is insulting the folks who know about his policies, and are simply rejecting them.

What we have here is not a failure to communicate.  What we have here is a failure to legislate in a rational and common sense way.

The President should ditch the teleprompter.  It makes him look weak and inauthentic.