For more than half a century, the teleprompter has been an almost indispensable tool for presidents and politicians of all political stripes.
However, the electronic version of cue cards has come in for a beating of late by GOP candidates who view the device as a tool of President Barack Obama, The Washington Post
Candidates including Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have mocked the president for his use of the device.
“Obama ruined the teleprompter for the rest of the politicians,” Fred Davis, a media strategist who advised Sen. John McCain in his 2008 presidential run, told the Post. “If you use it now, you’re like Obama.
“It’s a negative because it’s a sign of inauthenticity,” Davis said. “It’s a sign that you can’t speak on your own two feet. It’s a sign that you have handlers behind you telling you what to say.”
Bachmann has declared she would ban them from the White House, Cain recently joked he threw a teleprompter off his campaign bus to “get rid of some dead weight,” and Romney joked that he had a secret one in his watch, the Post reported.
However, Romney has used teleprompters, as has Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Bachmann. While Obama certainly uses them for big speeches, he has frequently addressed audiences without them.
“It’s not that Obama’s not smart enough to be able to give a really good speech from outlined notes,” Doris Kearns Goodwin, a presidential historian — who was a White House aide to Lyndon Johnson, one of the first presidents to use a teleprompter — told the Post.
“It’s one thing for a presidential candidate to say something stupid and cable news goes through it for a couple days,” she said. “But if a president says something that is not what he meant to say, it could be an international situation.”
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