Obama Ditches Teleprompter For Giant TV Monitor


obama2[Video below.] What kind of politician brings a teleprompter to a news conference?
A careful one.
President Barack Obama took no chances in his second prime-time news conference last, reading a prepared statement in which he took both sides of the AIG bonus brouhaha and asked an anxious nation for its patience.

Actually, at last night’s conference, Obama read the opening statement not from an actual teleprompter but from one massive TV monitor from the back and middle of the East Room. White House officials removed the normal glass teleprompters that usually are positioned on both sides of the podium. That change was likely a reaction to the focus on the President’s heavy use of teleprompters.

“There are no quick fixes,” Obama said, “and there are no silver bullets.”

It’s an interesting dichotomy: Obama came before the nation to sell one of the most expensive and politically risky agendas ever offered by a U.S. president, but his language was heavy with caution. A hard-willed plan given a soft sell.

Served up opportunities to lead with his heart, Obama was cerebral. Cool and calming in a time of white-hot public anger.

“You know, there was a lot of outrage and finger-pointing last week, and much of it is understandable,” Obama said of the bonus issue in his opening remarks. “I’m as angry as anybody about those bonuses that went to some of the very same individuals who brought our financial system to its knees.”

“Bankers and executives on Wall Street need to realize that enriching themselves on the taxpayers’ dime is inexcusable, that the days of outsized rewards and reckless speculation that puts us all at risk have to be over,” the president told reporters and the nation.

But he didn’t look angry. Nor did he sound much like a pitchfork-wielding populist.

“At the same time, the rest of us can’t afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit. That drive is what has always fueled our prosperity, and it is what will ultimately get these banks lending and our economy moving once more,” he said.

During the question-and-answer session Obama was asked why people should trust government with the regulatory authority to take over failing financial companies such as troubled insurer American International Group Inc., Obama passed on the chance to demonize Washington.

“Keep in mind, it is precisely because of the lack of this authority that the AIG situation has gotten worse,” Obama said. He then gave a scholarly explanation of how the proposal would work.

Pressed again, Obama cited the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s handling of the IndyMac Bank as an example of government properly using its authority.

The government did something right? That’s news to most Americans.

Still, it’s hard to criticize Obama’s communication skills or tactics. Polls show that while the public has turned against Washington and Wall Street, the president’s ratings remain steady.

He has aggressively delivered his cautious message-through town halls, talk shows, travel and, yes, prime-time news conferences. His message: Stick with me and my $3.6 trillion budget.

“This is a big ocean liner, it’s not a speedboat. It doesn’t turn around immediately,” he said. “But we’re in a better, better place because of the decisions that we made.”

One of the few times he summoned raw emotion came after a reporter demanded to know why it took him so long to express outrage over the AIG executive bonuses.

“It took a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”

Even better, he likes to have it up on the teleprompter.

The Drudge Report stated last night that reporters were told in advance if the president was going to call on them. Senior Administration Officials notified reporters from Stars & Stripes, Univision and other news outlets that they should have a question ready, reported Drudge. Several reporters moved up in assigned seats as result.

To watch a video showing the TV screen that Obama read from, click below:

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{Elisha Ferber-Matzav.com Newscenter/Sam Bakardy-Matzav.com Washington}