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jca's avatar

Did obama use a teleprompter when he gave his election night speech?

Asked by jca (36038points) November 6th, 2008

my coworker told me he gave that speech from his heart – no teleprompter. I know when people use a teleprompter they can be very good at making it look like they’re not looking at it. i am wondering if she’s naive or if he really gave it off the top of his head. i know he’s a good speaker, but does anybody know this answer?

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30 Answers

aidje's avatar

Whether a teleprompter was involved or not, I seriously doubt that it was off the top of his head.

shilolo's avatar

He might have memorized the speech (lots of accomplished speakers do that) or used a teleprompter like most speakers. Either way, it was definitely written in advance and (likely) rehearsed. No one would give the biggest speech of their life spontaneously “off the top of their head”.

seVen's avatar

you don’t have to use a teleprompter now a days you can just use a hidden ear peace insert .

seVen's avatar

..or sync your lips to already recorded message .

shilolo's avatar

Obama is a skilled orator. There is zero chance he used an earpiece or pulled a Milli-Vanilli.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I doubt he used anything. His prepared remarks did not match his actual speech entirely. (According to my boyfriend who read both—the unsung hero bit about Plouffe was not in the prepared statement.)

judochop's avatar

The man has mad skills. I am sure he put some skill into memorizing his speech and I am sure there was someone standing close by to help if it went wrong. A man like Obama does not step in front of all of America without a back up plan. He is setting an example.

Snoopy's avatar

I am sure that if he didn’t use a teleprompter, he practiced the speech and studied an outline – a bunch.

For me, public speaking works best if I follow a loose well practiced framework. If I try to stick to a rigid format….it causes me to fluster and get sidetracked.

If no teleprompter was involved, I would bet it was something along those lines….

figbash's avatar

He definitely used a teleprompter.


Also, every once in awhile, the camera would catch the bulletproof glass he had around him, too.

jca's avatar

wow figbash – great photo. GA for you.

asmonet's avatar

Just because he could doesn’t mean he did, fig. Just sayin’.

EmpressPixie's avatar

We could see the lights reflecting off the cage. It was intense, but I was very happy to see it. I don’t want them to take any chances with my president elect.

figbash's avatar

Obama’s an amazing speaker, and while I’d like to believe that he gave his speech without aid, visible teleprompters on each side of him, the length of the speech, the fact that he kept pivoting into their line of sight, and one or two words that got tripped up, indicate a strong likelihood he used the teleprompters. I can’t imagine he’d not at least have a speech outline, as backup, during one of the most defining speeches of his life . . .

SoapChef's avatar

I don’t know if he did or he didn’t. I read an article yesterday about the history of his campaign and apparently he is very good at memorizing speeches.
My brother filled me in on the bulletproof glass, I hadn’t noticed it. Thank goodness for it, but at the same time, how sad. You know secret service must be shittin’ bricks about now. This is no ordinary president they are protecting. They are amazing individuals, thank goodness for them too.

EmpressPixie's avatar

SoapChef, he got Secret Service protection earlier than any other candidate ever has. They are all over him. (As they should be!)

jsc3791's avatar

Does anyone really care if he did or did not use a teleprompter or other assistance for his speech?

Does it matter?

fireside's avatar

I think he still gave the speech from his heart, even if he did use the teleprompter to remember the words.

richardhenry's avatar

He had two teleprompters, one on each side of the stage (so he didn’t need to keep looking in one direction). You can clearly see them during the speech video, and in the aftermath when Biden .etc comes on-stage. The reason you can’t see the text is because it is only visible at a very specific angle.

The speech was from his heart, but you need to pre-plan that sort of event down to the millisecond. He will have been closely involved in the writing.

This isn’t a movie though; powerful speeches are all about rhythm and order. About building them up. You can’t spawn that out of nowhere, even when talking about a topic you know inside out.

figbash's avatar

@richardhenry: exactly.

girlofscience's avatar

Haha, I wonder if he even prepared a concession speech.

aidje's avatar

I was thinking about that earlier today. I would assume that he had something ready, but… what a weird task.

MacBean's avatar

Does anybody know if he wrote it himself or if it was a speech writer? (And if it was a speech writer, does anybody know who it was?)

fireside's avatar

I don’t know if this still holds, since this article is from January, but Jon Favreau is named as Obama’s speechwriter/editor.

jca's avatar

jcs3791: for your question, “does it matter?” i didn’t say it mattered, i was just curious. do half the questions asked matter?

jsc3791's avatar

I was just posing another question, to see if anyone thought less of the speech (or more) for the use of a teleprompter.

Just expanding on your question, not challenging it.


lunabean's avatar

i somehow doubt that obama used a teleprompter. nonetheless he’s a great speaker aside from the fact that every other word is “uh” :)

jca's avatar

luna: he did – i saw it in a photo of him from that night, of him speaking from the rear. i saw it after i asked the question.

also, if you read the threads you’ll see the link.

ps welcome to fluther.

Lonestarwildman's avatar

It didn’t seem like he did.Seems to be a great orator,but I imagine he has some guidelines that he glances at to keep organized and in order.

pikipupiba's avatar

Obama has used a teleprompter for far more speeches than any president before him.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Citation needed.

Though I suspect he’s used more technology period than any president before him. Just a suspicion. It’s so nice to have a president who is with the times and tells me what’s going on in his day that I might care about in an accessible manner (ie, twitter, facebook, etc).

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