The Washington Post

President Obama fails to use teleprompter in speech at Virginia firehouse

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Turns out, President Obama doesn’t need a teleprompter to give a speech, no matter what his Republican adversaries might say.

Obama arrived at a fire station here on the last stop on his three-day bus tour and, for the first time in six speeches, gave up his teleprompter. Instead, he made his remarks with the help of notes on laminated papers.

President Obama flips through notes, instead of relying on a teleprompter, while delivering an Oct. 19, 2011 speech at a firehouse in Chesterfield County, Va. (David Nakamura)

But the timing was interesting. A truck containing sound equipment, lecterns with the official presidential seal and, possibly, teleprompters intended for Obama’s used at the firehouse was stolen Monday outside a hotel. The truck was discovered, apparently with all the equipment inside, later that day.

Obama also has been criticized by Republicans for his reliance on teleprompters. In a Post story Wednesday, several of Obama’s GOP presidential rivals scoffed at teleprompters.

At the firehouse, Obama delivered his usual stump speech on jobs smoothly, looking down at his written remarks infrequently. Occasionally, he would flip through the pages.

Asked if Obama gave up the high-tech tools because of the theft or the crticism, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said by email: “No.

(There) was never a plan to use prompters at this event. Small room generally means no prompter.”

More Obama coverage

Republicans mock Obama use of teleprompter

Obama speech equipment stolen in Virginia

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


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