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Obama's speech, his teleprompter, the reaction

By Rama Lakshmi

He thrilled them by calling for India to have a permanent seat on an expanded U.N. Security Council. He reassured them by demanding that Pakistan bring those responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks to justice. He flattered them by recalling India's
historic achievements in science, philosophy and the invention of the digit "zero". And he amazed them by using that ubiquitous tool of modern American politics: the teleprompter.

President Obama used the electronic speech-displaying device Monday to deliver his 30-minute address to Indian lawmakers in the historic Central Hall of parliament, the same place where Britain relinquished power to a newly independent India in 1947. It was the first time a teleprompter had been used inside the chamber.

"It looks like a podium", said one mystified lawmaker. "Where do they place the paper?" asked another.

In India, politicians generally speak extemporaneously or from notes or text written on paper. The common perception, explained lawmaker Sanjay Nirupam of Mumbai, is that the really good speakers don't need to have text in front of them.

Regardless, lawmakers in the packed hall listened to Obama's speech in mesmerized silence, punctuated by frequent applause.

"Some moments are recorded in history as points of reference...this is that moment," said Meira Kumar, the Speaker of the Lower House of parliament. Commentators on Indian news channels hailed the speech as "vintage Obama".

The last American president to address the Indian parliament was Bill Clinton, who was so popular that lawmakers pushed each other out of the aisles and jumped over benches in the chaotic clamor to shake hands with him.

Ahead of Obama's address, India's parliamentary affairs ministry sent out an advisory to lawmakers to maintain dignity this time around.

President George W. Bush was not allowed to address Indian lawmakers when he visited the country in 2006 because the communist parties who were in the ruling coalition threatened to protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Bush spoke instead at the 16th-century Old Fort.

On Monday, the red sandstone columns of Indian parliament were wrapped with marigold garlands. The hall was packed, with dozens of members of parliament standing, said lawmaker Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Some members argued with security guards and asked for extra chairs. A few male lawmakers reluctantly gave up their seats for women members.

"It was more than the number of people who came to hear Bill Clinton," Chandrasekhar said.


By Rama Lakshmi  | November 8, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Hot Air: Obama blows India’s mind with insane teleprompter skills
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/11/08/obama-blows-indias-mind-with-insane-teleprompter-skills/

Posted by: StewartIII | November 9, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

ObaMao. . .Anti_American Chicago thug Marxist fraud usurper.

Show me the long-form birth-certificate!!!

Posted by: steveb777 | November 8, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

To whom did he bow this time?

Posted by: unclesmrgol | November 8, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Cheer wapo cheer!

That's right obama, keep doing EXACTLY what you have been doing.

hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Posted by: standard_guy | November 8, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Lefties once again assuming that all righties get all their info from FOX - even as we all are reading and responding to a WP article.... and I didn't think righties were allowed to read the WP - amazing!

Posted by: ksilton | November 8, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the communist parties in the Indian parliament -- fortunately they were pretty much shunned by voters in the last election. They are no longer part of the governing coalition.

While they call themselves communists, they are probably closer to being socialist-statists, other than their feverish admiration for the former Soviet Union. They can't adjust to the fact that communism has been so completely repudiated in Russian and (in effect) China.

No idea what they think of President Obama -- probably see him as a symbol of their arch-enemy, the good old USA, as GWB.

Posted by: vik1 | November 8, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The low IQ Rush Limbaugh Lemmings always at the ready to criticize President Obama have no idea Reagan, and all presidents since read from teleprompters. Presidents either read from notes, cue cards or the like,however, if you think a president can take the chance and winging it on matters of importance you further show your ignorance. After these GOP & Tea Party start cutting your government benefits, you anti-Obama types will remember this as the good ole days.

Posted by: october30 | November 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Imam Blobama would have set up TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) on that rock pile at Ground Zero that Bush spoke from had he been president on 9/11.

And it's not just us frothing at the mouth, tinfoil hat right wing nuts who have been lampooning TOTUS. Didn't you hear your boy Chris Matthews, he of the tingly thighs, diss TOTUS the other day? Chrissy's so in the tank for Obama, not even Obama himself is in the tank for Obama that much.

Posted by: kbarker302 | November 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Now This is worth repeating . . .the TRUTH!
Posted by: Observer001

"Ok so the whopper that this trip was costing $200 million per day has been abandoned as an outright lie NOW the tea-baggers and fellow travelers are harping on the teleprompter AGAIN!

How many extemporaneous speeches did George Bush give? None. Hell, he couldn't even READ the speeches prepared for him."

Thanks, Observer001 !

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 8, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The low IQ Rush Limbaugh Lemmings always at the ready to criticize President Obama have no idea Reagan, and all presidents since read from teleprompters. Presidents either read from notes, cue cards or the like,however, if you think a president can take the chance and winging it on matters of importance you further show your ignorance. After these GOP & Tea Party start cutting your government benefits, you anti-Obama types will remember this as the good ole days.

Posted by: october30 | November 8, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The low IQ Rush Limbaugh Lemmings always at the ready to criticize President Obama have no idea Reagan, and all presidents since read from teleprompters. Presidents either read from notes, cue cards or the like,however, if you think a president can take the chance and winging it on matters of importance you further show your ignorance. After these GOP & Tea Party start cutting your government benefits, you anti-Obama types will remember this as the good ole days.

Posted by: october30 | November 8, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It was wonderful. Lawmakers in the packed hall listened to Obama's speech in mesmerized silence, punctuated by frequent applause. You should have been there.

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | November 8, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Someone has already added Obama's "zero" remark to Wikipedia! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero#Early_history :

"President Barack Obama on November 8, 2010, in a speech to the Indian parilament stated: "And it is no exaggeration to say that our information age is rooted in Indian innovations-including the number zero."

To be clear, the Indians are credited with establishing zero as a legitimate numerical value. Other cultures, including Arabic, are credited with establishing zero as a digit.

Posted by: PaulinMaryland | November 8, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

HE "thrilled them" , HE "amazed them", HE "mesmerized them".

WaPo is revving up for Obama's 2012 election already! PATHETIC.

You call yourself a newspaper???

Posted by: beecheery | November 8, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Why did he even go at all? We could have just wheeled in a TV and shown clips of Max Headroom.

Posted by: zippyspeed | November 8, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Barack 0bama without the teleprompter: "uh--uh-uh, hmmm, uh, uh, uh."

He's a big enough embarrassment with the teleprompter, he'd humiliate us even more without it.

Readership you can believe in....NOT!

Posted by: JustJoe3 | November 8, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Is this a joke????? Teleprompter skills? This faux president can't put two sentences together with out it. WaPo, this is a bad, bad article!!!!!! You just bring up more reasons to dislike Obama and justify his reputation as an EMPTY SUIT!!!!!

Posted by: magsthecat1 | November 8, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Is this a joke????? Teleprompter skills? This faux president can't put two sentences together with out it. WaPo, this is a bad, bad article!!!!!! You just bring up more reasons to dislike Obama and justify his reputation as an EMPTY SUIT!!!!!

Posted by: magsthecat1 | November 8, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Lefties seem to think Obama invented speech! Ever heard of Cicero? Churchill? Lincoln? People have been giving stunningly good speeches for thousands of years. NONE of them had teleprompters. NONE of them NEEDED teleprompters. Ever taken Speech class in college? Ever studied Theatre?
Obama doesn't speak, he "reads." He can barely form a solid sentence without a teleprompter.
Um...uh...I, I I....uh...me, me ....uh

Posted by: npsmith | November 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Lefties seem to think Obama invented speech! Ever heard of Cicero? Churchill? Lincoln? People have been giving stunningly good speeches for thousands of years. NONE of them had teleprompters. NONE of them NEEDED teleprompters. Ever taken Speech class in college? Ever studied Theatre?
Obama doesn't speak, he "reads." He can barely form a solid sentence without a teleprompter.
Um...uh...I, I I....uh...me, me ....uh

Posted by: npsmith | November 8, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Using a teleprompter for press conferences and to speak from elementary school classrooms-the legacy of President Obama, always scripted. And to think He thinks we did not get his message!!

Besides, "Corpse Man" over Corpsman-

PRICELESS.

Posted by: 1djn | November 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Ok so the whopper that this trip was costing $200 million per day has been abandoned as an outright lie NOW the tea-baggers and fellow travelers are harping on the teleprompter AGAIN!

How many extemporaneous speeches did George Bush give? None. Hell, he couldn't even READ the speeches prepared for him.

Posted by: Observer001 | November 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I expected to see posts from the right making cracks about the teleprompter. It's just a symptom of their silliness. Reagan used the teleprompter quite often. Some presidents have just read their speeches off paper on the podium. None just stand there and talk with no written speech in front of them. I think it's funny that the conservatives seem against using a teleprompter instead of a piece of paper. Is it a fear or misunderstanding of technology? It is funny, though.

Posted by: bgormley1 | November 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Lazy is repeating the grossly erroneous factoid that the President's trip to india would cost $200M per day. How many times did Limbaugh and the rest of the rabid right repeat that lie??

Posted by: DevH | November 8, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm cracking up over the number of Obamaphiles here, all upset with the WaPo for talking about Obama's attachment to his teleprompter!
All you people hitched yourselves to this man, because he was supposed to be some wonderful, charismatic orator! Yet, he can't get through the alphabet without it!
Sure, I know past presidents used teleprompters; but he does to a fault! Evne members of his own party have told him to lessen his dependence on it. Well, we have seen, many times, that he stumbles over sentences without it, and actually, his true, socialist self comes out, when he gets off the script -- that others wrote for him!
The man is as fake as a $3 bill. When will you people come out of your Kool-Aid-induced stupirs to realize this??!?!

Posted by: ThruHeavensEyez | November 8, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

why didn't the india communists protest obama regarding afghanistan ? because birds of a feather flock together.

Posted by: corp21 | November 8, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Really good speakers DON'T need notes!

I studied with a gentleman who lectured on recent American History for an entire semester, and NEVER used notes.

Of course, he was a Pulitzer-prize winning historian, scholar, and author.
In other words, what Mr. Obama is NOT...an intellectual!

Posted by: wcmillionairre | November 8, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I had absolutely no problem with President Reagan's repeated use of a teleprompter. I am perfectly willing to extend the same courtesy to President Obama.

Posted by: MrBuddwing | November 8, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I hear Barry now.."Magic box, magic box give me words. Next watch me fly away on big metal bird!"

Posted by: caper29 | November 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, WaPo for keeping that tired old neo-con hate speech alive. When you say "teleprompter" you mean criticism of Obama, so why don't you just say so and stop hiding behind obscure memes?

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | November 8, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Quick! Show them a camera or a lighter!!! They'll think it's magic and we can get whatever we want by bartering some Bics....

Posted by: WildBill1 | November 8, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Quick! Show them a camera or a lighter!!! They'll think it's magic and we can get whatever we want by bartering some Bics....

Posted by: WildBill1 | November 8, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

teleprompter is the big story?
Really?
Really?
I am starting to think the WaPo
is starting to lean right....

Posted by: simonsays1 | November 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

teleprompter is the big story?
Really?
Really?
I am starting to think the WaPo
is starting to lean right....

Posted by: simonsays1 | November 8, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse


Barry the incompetent boob Obama is the laughingstock of India and the world. An article in Hindustan Times says it all with wit and clarity:

"We thought Obama is a trained orator and skilled in the art of mass address with his continuous eye contact," an official, who did not wish to be identified because of security restrictions, said.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I keep waiting for George Soros to come out from behind the curtain as the wizard of Oz and expose obama as his marionette. This would explain the fact that obama never engages in extemporaneous discourse.

Posted by: VastRightWingConspirator | November 8, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

This article is just one lie after another.

It is nothing more than propaganda.

Obama and his beloved telepromptor have become the butt of every joke in India—just like Bumbling Barry is the Comedian-in-Chief in the U. S.


Posted by: Jerzy | November 8, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Impressed by the laziness and lack of oratory skill defined by the teleprompter. Wow. What's next? Predicting an eclipse to scare the natives?

Posted by: carlbatey | November 8, 2010 11:12 AM"
======================

More trolling.

Most Presidents who have used a teleprompter only use it to stay on message. President Obama, for instance, does not read from it word-for-word.

Also, the teleprompter doesn't speak for you. It's extremely difficult to deliver a compelling, passionate speech without boring people to death unless you know the material and can speak it from the heart. Ask any college professor who reads word-for-word from PowerPoint how enthusiastic their students are. (Hint: They're not.)

Posted by: ClandestineBlaze | November 8, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

You rightards claiming that using a teleprompter is somehow "lazy" or whatever you think it is -- do you think you could memorize a 5 minute speech? let alone one of importance to the entire world, filled with specifics that must be spoken of using very precise language, tone, inflection, and pacing? So you would be more happy with what, not cards? A typed speech? What the F is the difference?

Methinks the whole "lazy" thing comes from the fox talking heads who themselves are reading it off of teleprompters.

Sure hanity and limbaugh don't read their entire 4 hour rants, but then there is no substance. Any self important fool can balther for hours about nothing. You can find thousands of limbaughs bloviating in corner bars everwhere in the world. Spouting nonsens and jibberish to anyone dumb or drunk enough to listen.

Posted by: John1263 | November 8, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

manicdrummer- Been hitting the bong(o) too long, if you think our President is dumb... At last, intelligence in the WH.

Posted by: Towards_Light | November 8, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

When old technology wows a crowd more than the guy who's dumb enough to need it, Judgment Day can't be too far off.

Posted by: manicdrummer | November 8, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Most vivid speach that was ever delivered at Indian parliment by any visiting dignitary.

Posted by: mani_poigai | November 8, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Impressed by the laziness and lack of oratory skill defined by the teleprompter. Wow. What's next? Predicting an eclipse to scare the natives?

Posted by: carlbatey | November 8, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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