Obama and the Teleprompter

Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standard took in a recent Obama speech and noted that the lack of a teleprompter changed the effectiveness and substance of Obama’s typically soaring rhetoric:

The results weren’t just interesting because they revealed Obama as a markedly inferior speaker without the Teleprompter. Obama’s supporters have had ample notice that the scripted Obama is far more effective than the spontaneous one. The extremely articulate and passionate Obama that makes all the speeches has yet to show up at any of the debates. For such a gifted and energetic speaker, he is an oddly tongue-tied and indifferent debater.
What was especially noteworthy about his Virginia speech were the diversions Obama took from the prepared text. Because of Obama’s improvised moments, this speech was different than the usual fare he offers. We didn’t get the normal dosages of post-partisanship or even “elevation.” Virtually every time Obama deviated from the text, he expressed the partisan anger that has so poisoned the Democratic party. His spontaneous comments eschewed the conciliatory and optimistic tone that has made the Obama campaign such a phenomenon. It looked like the spirit of John Edwards or Howard Dean had possessed Obama every time he vamped. While Paul Krugman probably loved it, this different Obama was a far less attractive one.
***
What makes Obama’s Jefferson-Jackson speech especially relevant is where he went when he went off script. The unifying Obama who has impressed so many people during this campaign season vanished, replaced by just another angry liberal railing against George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Exxon Mobil, and other long standing Democratic piñatas. The pressing question that Obama’s decidedly uninspiring Jefferson-Jackson oratory raises is which Obama is the real Obama–the one who read beautifully crafted words from a Teleprompter after his victory in Iowa, or the tediously angry liberal who improvised in Virginia?

Should he get the Democratic nomination, I expect “hope” we’ll find out.

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Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Hell, if he can pronounce ‘nuclear’ properly I’ll vote for him.
Nuk-u-lar, a word I learned to pronounce properly in third grade, but the Yale grad can’t master, gets up my craw something fierce. And it’s so bad there are other members of government who mis-pronounce it, too. It’s almost like they’re afraid to tell Captain Cuckoo-Bananas that he’s an idiot.
I can’t believe I voted for that jackass twice.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

I didn’t know that Jimmy Carter went to Yale! 😉

Monique
13 years ago

“which Obama is the real Obama–the one who read beautifully crafted words from a Teleprompter after his victory in Iowa, or the tediously angry liberal who improvised in Virginia?”
Yup, I had heard about this. Very interesting.

Jake
Jake
13 years ago

That’s it?
If the best the Weekly Standard can muster is a critique of a one-off speech, that Obama should sail to the office without a problem.
And that’s to say nothing of all the plainly factually incorrect claims in that office.
-Obama uses the “Dick Cheney cousin” riff in many of his speeches. It may not have been in the text of *that* speech, but it was not off the cuff. Having seen it in person at an event in NH, I can say he actually does it in a pretty funny and personable way.
-He *often* lacks a teleprompter. Have you even seen most of his speeches? Check the tapes. Most of his major campaign stops at arenas and the like (including the one I went to in NH) do *not* have teleprompters. Ooops.

Marc
13 years ago

Uh, Jake, I expect there’ll be much more substantial critiques forthcoming. This is just one anecdote offered as the GOP and conservatives begin to seriously pay attention to Obama. Until now, it’s been assumed that HRC will be the nominee. Fred Barnes (also of the WS) summed it up well:

Indeed, there’s a growing consensus among both Republican and Democratic strategists that Obama would be the stronger general election candidate. He may be more liberal than Clinton, but by almost every other yardstick he’s a more appealing candidate …. Nevertheless, many Republicans are rooting for him to knock off Clinton. If that makes it more difficult to keep the White House, so be it. Being spared another President Clinton is reward enough. For now.

Should he win the nomination, more serious scrutinization will come.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

I haven’t watched a great deal of Obama – I don’t have a dog in the Democrat race (or the Republican race anymore, for that matter).
But what I’ve seen – to give the devil his due – is that he has a great deal of likability and charisma.
OTOH, as I saw a bit of his victory talk the other night, the thought that crossed my mind was “this guy is like a preacher holding a revival meeting at the Church of the Great Society.”
The progressives are gettin’ the religion and speaking in tongues, feeling redeemed as the preacher was leading them toward the promised land (of socialism).

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

>>The progressives are gettin’ the religion and speaking in tongues, feeling redeemed as the preacher was leading them toward the promised land (of socialism).
Sorry for the past tense / present tense grammatical error, this is what happens when one bangs out a post and hits “send” too quickly!
And sorry for the NEA / AFT “whole language” victims who wouldn’t have known the difference.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

I heard the best analysis of Sen. Obama yesterday on the Hannity radio program, and it came from former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
He likened the Obama campaign to Jimmy Carter’s run in 1976, when Carter ran on change in Washington bud never said anything about what he would do.
The candidate in that kind of campaign is a sort of “Rorshach Test;” the voter takes a look and sees whatever he wants.

Phil
Phil
13 years ago

“Scrutinization”? I don’t think a teleprompter would help with that word.

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