Romney Relying On Teleprompters During Final Campaign Swing

Given the ridiculous obsession that many on the right have had with the fact that President Obama — like both Presidents Bush, President Clinton, and President Reagan before him — utilizes teleprompters for many public speeches, one has to wonder how they’ll feel about this:

DES MOINES — Warming up the crowd at Mitt Romney’s morning rally here Sunday morning, Iowa congressional candidate John Archer strode on stage and took what in Republican circles has become a tried-and-true dig at President Obama.

“Wow,” he said, “I don’t need these teleprompters!”

What Archer may not have realized is that the twin teleprompters erected at both sides of the podium had been set up for his own party’s nominee. Like the president, Romney has been relying more and more on teleprompters in recent days as he swoops in and out of the battleground states delivering a scripted closing argument.

Romney’s heavy use of teleprompters symbolizes the evolution of his stump speech. Throughout this campaign, Romney usually spoke extemporaneously and with only a few written notes. For formal policy addresses, he read his prepared remarks from teleprompters. But for his standard rallies, he stitched together his speeches, seemingly off the cuff, from an assortment of well-practiced and familiar riffs. He regularly took jabs at Obama’s eloquence, often noting to loud applause that sterling rhetoric does not make a sterling record.

But with his closing argument speech — which he debuted Friday morning in West Allis, Wis., (using teleprompters) — Romney is reaching for sterling rhetoric of his own. The speech is loftier than those he has given before, as he talks in big, sweeping terms about his promise for American renewal. And he is relying on a written script to deliver the words just right; at five of his seven rallies since the Wisconsin speech, Romney has read from teleprompters.

Romney’s aides said the candidate would keep using teleprompters on the home stretch because his closing argument speech is new and he wants to achieve precision and accuracy as he lays out his fresh message. “We don’t have a problem with teleprompters,” one aide said.

Precisely. Because, as I’ve said so many times before when this topic has come up, a teleprompter is nothing more than a tool just as a microphone is a tool. There used to be a time when politicians like William Jennings Bryan would speak for hours on end without the need for any amplification. Indeed, all of the Lincoln-Douglass debates were conducted before large crowds in Illinois with no amplification whatsoever while the two candidates spoke for 60 and 90 minute stretches with barely an interruption. Does that mean that a politician who uses a microphone today is using it as a “crutch,” something that conservatives have frequently said about Obama and teleprompters? Of course it doesn’t. It’s not the means of delivery of the speech that matters, it’s the content and how the crowd reacts to it. The fact that it was read, in whole or in part, off a teleprompter, is irrelevant. This closing speech is perhaps the most important part of the campaign for Romney, so of course the campaign would want to make sure it’s as polished as possible. If a teleprompter helps with that, then they’re just utilizing a tool.

Now, can we finally quit talking about teleprompters?

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. A says:

    Clearly this is a sign that Romney did not earn his college degrees. He needs to open up his college records, because we can’t just trust him.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I blame Obama.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Well, teleprompters have always been okay. For white politicians.

  4. legion says:

    Now, can we finally quit talking about teleprompters?

    No. Because the people who have been making, and will continue to make, jokes about Obama and teleprompters aren’t simply “pundits” – they’re tools. Bought and paid for. Whenever you see someone making a teleprompter joke, you can immediately discard any political opinion they voice, because you now know it’s not actually their opinion – it’s just the one they were paid to parrot.

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    You people are so behind the times. Now the current Obama joke is an empty chair.

    With luck, we’ll retire that one after Tuesday.

    Along with Obama himself.

  6. Stonetools says:

    It’s like Mitt’s foreign policy. I would do the same Obama did, but when I do it, it’s totally different !

  7. rudderpedals says:

    Now, can we finally quit talking about teleprompters?

    You want to talk about albatrosses instead?

  8. al-Ameda says:

    A teleprompter helps Mitt to remember which of his statements he is planning to backtrack on.

  9. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You people are so behind the times. Now the current Obama joke is an empty chair.

    And the Republican joke is an angry old white guy yelling at an empty chair.

  10. Sejanus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: It is astounding to see a republican still lacking the shame to tell an empty chair joke after the Eastwood fiasco.

  11. one has to wonder how they’ll feel about this

    They will never hear about it.

    When Obama was inaugurated, the right flipped out about the fairness doctrine. Then they said he was nationalizing the auto industry as a prelude to proletariat ownership of the means of production. Then they argued that the Heritage Foundation’s health insurance reform plan was socialist fascism. Then they said that he was humiliating America by bowing to the Japanese emperor. Next week it’ll be that he’s destroying our security by selling arms to a nearly-Islamofied Europe.

    The “teleprompter” insult was never a reasoned argument. It was always nonsense. Romney doing the exact same thing will have zero impact on GOP propagandists and voters.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    No one should be too hard on Romney…I mean, with so many different positions on every single issue, it must be hard for him to remember them all…

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idiotian #13:

    With luck, we’ll retire that one after Tuesday.

    Wow. Jenos and I agree on something. Mark it on your calendars.

  14. swbarnes2 says:

    This is classic Doug, eternally dishonest about Republican policies.

    The teleprompter thing is NOT about public speaking. It’s about portraying Obama as an unintelligent faker because he’s black. It’s the exact same reason his college transcripts have been demanded.

    How often does a person get to defend racism before it’s fair to call that supporting racism?

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Wow, you flip-flop just as well as Romney himself.

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @swbarnes2: The teleprompter thing is NOT about public speaking. It’s about portraying Obama as an unintelligent faker because he’s black. It’s the exact same reason his college transcripts have been demanded.

    How often does a person get to defend racism before it’s fair to call that supporting racism?

    Why do you immediately jump to race as the defining aspect?

    It’s because Obama ran for president with a resume full of credentials and zero accomplishments.

    It’s because Obama had never held any kind of executive or managerial position.

    It’s because Obama — with a brief exception — has never worked in the private sector.

    And yet you say it’s all about race. Seems to me like you’ve got the racist fixation. You won’t hold Obama to the same standard you would a white politician.

  17. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I wonder why you bring up all those things that barely mattered in 2008, but don’t matter at all now that Obama has been president for the last 4 years.

    You won’t hold Obama to the same standard you would a white politician.

    How is the teleprompter thing is anything but racists treating a black president differently than pretty much every other white president?

  18. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s because Obama ran for president with a resume full of credentials and zero accomplishments.It’s because Obama had never held any kind of executive or managerial position.It’s because Obama — with a brief exception — has never worked in the private sector.

    If consevatives truely believe this remind me why they praised Paul Ryan (career politician with no paratical executive or managerial experience and little to direct private sector experiece beyond driving a hot dog truck) as a VP (i.e. president in waiting)?

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I wonder why you bring up all those things that barely mattered in 2008, but don’t matter at all now that Obama has been president for the last 4 years.

    Have they changed? Those of us who pointed them all out back then predicted that he’d be overwhelmed in office, and he’s pretty much admitted it — how many times has he said he had no idea how bad things really were when he was running for office?

    We said he’d be a flop, and in so many ways he has.

    ow is the teleprompter thing is anything but racists treating a black president differently than pretty much every other white president?

    Bush didn’t rely so much on teleprompters — and God knows he could have used it. Clinton didn’t. Elder Bush didn’t (paste prior comment about other Bush here). Reagan didn’t. Carter didn’t.

    I understand you’re totally obsessed with race and have this compunction to call racist any criticism of Obama so as to deflect the blame, but “depends on teleprompters” or “needs help in public speaking” is hardly a racial stereotype. Hell, there’s a whole style of speech — the “black preacher” style — that is easily recognizable and respected, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the present. Hell, Obama himself has used that style on occasion.

    In other words: I’m sorry, sir, your race card has been declined. Do you have an alternate form of argument?

  20. Rick Almeida says:

    Bush didn’t rely so much on teleprompters — and God knows he could have used it. Clinton didn’t. Elder Bush didn’t (paste prior comment about other Bush here). Reagan didn’t. Carter didn’t.

    You have no evidence at all for this claim.

  21. mattb says:

    Btw jenos… what’s your election prediction (ev and popular)?

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rick Almeida: We got videos of all of them speaking in public. And just with Buth 43 — considering how much his critics focused on “lack of intelligence,” they’d have made a field day on that theme.

    @mattb: Thanks for asking, but I’m refraining. I did tell one friend that I didn’t think that it would be called before midnight, but it would be decisive enough that we wouldn’t have another 2000 fiasco.

    That last bit could be wishful thinking. Considering the financial cliff we’re heading, I hope that the election is resolved quickly — another 2000 and the result of the last “budget” deal could seriously wreck us. I think I’d almost prefer Obama to decisively win than to have a month or longer of arguing.

  23. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You’re sure Reagan, Carter and Nixon didn’t use teleprompters? Are you really sure? It wasn’t that long ago.

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @rudderpedals: Work on your reading comprehension, you clot. I said “didn’t rely so much.” How did you go from there to “not at all?”

  25. An Interested Party says:

    We got videos of all of them speaking in public.

    Here’s another video, without a teleprompter…

    Thanks for asking, but I’m refraining.

    Well of course you would refrain…perhaps you don’t want to be seen to be as foolish as George Will and Michael Barone will look on Tuesday…

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: Too bad he couldn’t do that more often. I recall him going off the written version quite a few times. Times he accused doctors of performing unnecessary amputations and tonsillectomies just for money… referred to nebulizers as “breathalyzers…” moved Hawaii to Asia… talking about “fallen heroes” as being present and alive… “corpse-men…” “the Cambridge police acted stupidly…” “Israel is a strong friend of Israel…” Ten thousand people dying from a tornado in Kansas…

    You wanna tackle Joey Plugs next? He’s just a gift…

  27. list of x says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: So how about his 3.5 years of experience in running the biggest economy in the world – does that not count?

  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @list of x: So how about his 3.5 years of experience in running the biggest economy in the world right into the ground – does that not count?

    Sure does, sport.

  29. An Interested Party says:

    Too bad he couldn’t do that more often.

    Ohhhhh, so that’s how the goalposts are moved…first we are told that the President relies on teleprompters too much, but when there is a clear example of him speaking well without a teleprompter, we are told that isn’t enough…it’s so nice to play a game of heads, you lose, tails, I win…

  30. An Interested Party says:

    So how about his 3.5 years of experience in running the biggest economy in the world right into the ground – does that not count?

    Oh my, who knew that the President has been in office since 2001? Next thing you know, he’ll be blamed for 9/11 too…

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: OK, there’s moving the goal posts, and then there’s dropping it right on the ref’s foot. And since ObamaCare hasn’t kicked in, you’re going to have to pay for that poor guy’s treatment.

    Obama uses his teleprompters A LOT. There are tons of examples of that.

    Obama, when he goes off teleprompter, tends to screw up A LOT. I cited several examples of that.

    Obama, on one occasion, did manage to speak well without a teleprompter. You found that one example.

    The next time Obama goes off teleprompter, which is more likely? Another gaffe-fest, like so many, or his second moment of competence?

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    We gave Obama four years to carry out his promises — he only asked for three. He pissed them away on stupid things and blaming Bush.

    And if he didn’t know just what kind of situation he was facing going in, then that speaks volumes on his competence. He put everything he had into convincing people he not only understood the situation, but had the magic solutions. Instead, things are marginally better in some ways, just as bad in more ways, and worse in other ways.

    I’m bored with hearing Obama whine about Bush. I understand that you never get bored with that, but a lot of us are tired of hearing about the past and want to MoveOn and Lean Forward and get see some Progress.

    News flash: summer is over, the reruns are supposed to end.

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: Next thing you know, he’ll be blamed for 9/11/12 too…

    Yup, what happened on 9/11/12 was totally not Obama’s fault. Blame that one on Bush, too.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    Obama uses his teleprompters A LOT.

    Hmm…Doug certainly knows you well…

    Given the ridiculous obsession that many on the right have had with the fact that President Obama — like both Presidents Bush, President Clinton, and President Reagan before him — utilizes teleprompters for many public speeches…

    Meanwhile…

    He put everything he had into convincing people he not only understood the situation, but had the magic solutions.

    This from someone who supports Romney….BWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    I’m bored with hearing Obama whine about Bush. I understand that you never get bored with that, but a lot of us are tired of hearing about the past and want to MoveOn and Lean Forward and get see some Progress.

    Obviously you are part of a distinct minority

    Yup, what happened on 9/11/12 was totally not Obama’s fault. Blame that one on Bush, too.

    Not at all, but if we are using those standards, surely 9/11/01 is Bush’s fault…

  35. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And yet you say it’s all about race. Seems to me like you’ve got the racist fixation. You won’t hold Obama to the same standard you would a white politician.

    … the same standard for a white politician? I’m guessing that Romney has never been asked to provide his long form birth certificate. I’m guessing that Romney has never been criticized because he used modern technology such as a teleprompter.

    Obama was bequeathed an economy that crashed and caused the loss of $15 Trillion in wealth and income – the worst crash since the Depression. How has he done? Well, when Obama was inaugurated the Dow Jones was below 8,000, today it’s over 13,000. the economy was tanking and unemployment rocketed to over 10% – today it’s below 8%. We’re making steady progress despite the best efforts of Republicans to crash the economy again.

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Hey, missed you on the Benghazi thread! Why didn’t you want to take a turn at defending the indefensible?

    But back to your off-topic… Obama said that if he didn’t turn things around in 3 years, he didn’t deserve a fourth term. After four years, we’re largely either right where we were or worse off. (Federal debt up double in four years over what Bush added in 8.) The one exception you want to cite is WALL STREET — what the hell kind of liberal are you?

    And just what did Obama do in those first three years? Such economy-boosting measures as ObamaCare, Green Jobs (“here’s a job shoveling greenbacks into a giant black hole”), Cash for Clunkers, and an assload of other profoundly unproductive efforts.

    Why did we expect anything resembling competence from the guy whose first major decision was Joe Biden? We should have known better.

    Oh, yeah… some of us did.

    But back on topic… here’s a useful metaphor. Romney’s teleprompter use is a casual, social, controlled thing. Obama has a full-blown dependency going on. And after Tuesday, I hope he’ll have plenty of time to check into Betty Ford for treatment.

    We’ll even pay for it.

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: I’m guessing that Romney has never been asked to provide his long form birth certificate. I’m guessing that Romney has never been criticized because he used modern technology such as a teleprompter.

    Nope. Instead, just from the commenters here, I’ve learned that Romney is a brain-damaged tax felon who murdered a woman with cancer and belongs to a scary cult. And that’s just off the top of my head.

    What’s that I also recall reading? Oh, yeah. “Politics ain’t beanbag.”

  38. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I hope he’ll have plenty of time to check into Betty Ford for treatment.

    We’ll even pay for it.

    Why not? We’re paying for your Medicaid, right?

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @sam: Can’t handle policy, so make it personal? Let me respond in kind: screw you, a-hole.

    And for the record: I pay plenty into Medicaid and Medicare, out of every paycheck I get for my 60+ hour work weeks. And I know I’ll probably never collect one penny back.

    So, again, screw you, a-hole.

    Wanna actually address the topic, or engage in more stupid insults?

  40. sam says:

    Tsk, tsk.

    Wanna actually address the topic, or engage in more stupid insults?

    Coming from someone who thinks ‘invective’ is a synonym for ‘calm reasoning’, that’s rich.

    Loser.

  41. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    It’s because Obama — with a brief exception — has never worked in the private sector.

    University of Chicago Law School is part of “the private sector,” and Obama worked there for 12 years, which is not “brief.”

    You are, once again, a liar.

    Federal debt up double in four years over what Bush added in 8.

    Also false, and by a wide margin. Link.

    I’ve learned that Romney is a brain-damaged tax felon

    I’m not sure he’s a tax felon, but he’s definitely a felon. Link.

    Keep up the good work.

  42. mantis says:

    Keep yelling at chairs, Jay.

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Since when did Academia become “the private sector?”

    On the debt… I apologize. Obama’s roughly equalled Bush’s debt, in half the time, so he’s sent it up at double the rate.

    Too bad you’re such a hyperpartisan hack and/or astonishingly myopic to remember that Obama promised to cut the debt, and instead sent it skyrocketing.

    And I missed you on the Benghazi thread. I figured if anyone could defend the indefensible, it’s be OTB’s resident Media Matters wannabe…

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I suggest you look at that thing called “private education” vs. “public education.” And “private universities” vs. “public universities.” You also might want to look at IRS 503 (c) and the definition of non-profits.

    If you’re pissed at Obama’s “lack of experience”, then you must be fulminating about Ryan, right?

    Oh, wait, he’s a white Republican. My bad.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Since when did Academia become “the private sector?”

    Don’t be dense Jenos. there are hundreds of private universities.

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    Since when did Academia become “the private sector?”

    “The private sector” is the part of the economy not controlled by the government. University of Chicago is private.

    He also worked as an author. People who write books are part of the private sector. So that’s another reason you’re wrong.

    He also worked full-time for a law firm for four years, and part-time for another five, roughly. That’s not “brief.” Yet another reason you’re wrong.

    Obama’s roughly equalled Bush’s debt

    Only if you assign FY09 to Obama instead of Bush, which is wrong.

    I missed you on the Benghazi thread.

    I participated in more than one “Benghazi thread” here. You miss a lot.

    Obama promised to cut the debt

    I think you mean deficit. Understanding the difference between those two things would be a good idea.

  47. mantis says:

    @Jay Tea’s dimwitted puppet @Jenos Idanian #13: Jenos Idanian #13:

    Since when did Academia become “the private sector?”

    Since they started having private universities. In this country (or rather, the colonies) that was sometime around 1650, the corporation of Harvard.

    Any other stupid questions?

    Obama’s roughly equalled Bush’s debt, in half the time, so he’s sent it up at double the rate.

    So we can assume that in the event of a Romney victory, you will blame every dollar of debt from January 21, 2013 onward as Romney’s fault?

    Too bad you’re such a hyperpartisan hack and/or astonishingly myopic to remember that Obama promised to cut the debt, and instead sent it skyrocketing.

    And you’re too stupid to understand the difference between the debt and the deficit.

  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    So we can assume that in the event of a Romney victory, you will blame every dollar of debt from January 21, 2013 onward as Romney’s fault?

    Believe it or not, it’s actually worse than that. GOP rhetoric on the debt/deficit (including what we hear from Mitt, Jenos, and everyone in between) embodies the idea that Obama is fully responsible for FY09, even though it began on 10/1/08, before Obama was even elected.

    So these folks are not just making Obama responsible for the debt as of 1/20/09. That would be quite unfair, but they’re doing something worse than that. And the press usually doesn’t explain this properly. Link.