Washington, Mar.6 (ANI): As he introduced his new choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services this week, President Obama turned his head from right to left, but he was not looking at the audience. He was reading from two teleprompters strategically set up outside the tight television camera shot.
When he was done, the teleprompters quietly began retracting down to the floor. As she stepped forward to make her remarks, the nominee, Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, seemed momentarily surprised.
Presidents have been using teleprompters for more than half a century, but none have relied on them as extensively as Obama has so far, reports the New York Times.
While presidents typically have used them for their most important speeches - an inaugural, State of the Union or Oval Office address, bama uses them for routine announcements and even for the opening statement of his only news conference so far.e used them during a visit to a Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Ill. He used them to make brief remarks opening his "fiscal responsibility summit." He used them to discuss endangered species, even recalling a visit to national parks as an 11-year-old.
For Obama, a teleprompter means message discipline, sticking close to the intended words. While some presidents prefer extemporizing, Obama likes the message to be as perfectly crafted as possible.
Presidents have long had a love-hate relationship with teleprompters. Harry S. Truman refused to use them, concluding it would make him look insincere. Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first president to use them but he was not a fan either, grousing about having to "use that damn teleprompter."
Some had particularly bad experiences. In 1993, when Clinton addressed Congress on health care, the wrong speech was fed into the teleprompter.
It took George Stephanopoulos and other aides a nightmarish seven minutes to fix the problem while Clinton winged it. Some thought he did better without the script.
Bush, whose unscripted gaffes were legendary, used a teleprompter for his 2002 speech to the United Nations on Iraq. But when the speech scrolled across the screens, the key line about seeking a new Security Council resolution was missing. Bush noticed and ad libbed it. The trouble was that he said he would seek "the necessary resolutions," plural, which later gave the Europeans ammunition to press him to return to the Security Council one more time.
Obama had never used a teleprompter until his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention, but he relied on them regularly on the campaign trail last year. After one speech, he was spotted in a tense exchange with an aide, a flash of temper a spokesman later attributed to a teleprompter malfunction. (ANI)