Friday, October 8, 2010
(President Obama speaking to elementary school students in Falls Church, Virginia)
Barack Obama's reliance on Teleprompters has become legendary. He is the first President to even use them for press conferences. Even W, stumbling and inarticulate as he was, didn't use them there. One must admire, however, whoever it is who can write Obama's answers so quickly in response to the questions asked.
Even Chris Matthews, the MSNBC host who famously felt shivers going up his leg when he heard Obama speak during the Presidential campaign, is put off. The other day he disgustedly said that when Obama has a meeting with a group of business leaders at the White House, he brings in the Teleprompter so he can talk to them. Matthews asked, "What's the point of even having a meeting with them if all he's going to do is speak from the Teleprompter? There's no connection there."
From shivers to contempt, in less than two years. And on MSNBC, no less.
The Wizard of Oz no longer looms as large in our collective culture as it once did. But one has to wonder if those elementary school students were reminded of the movie while listening to Obama read from the teleprompter in their classroom:
"Pay no attention to that man behind the screen! I am the great and powerful Oz!"
At least the Wizard wrote his own lines.