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Journalists need prompting too

Justin Webb | 18:11 UK time, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

My question for the President was going to be about Iran - was he disappointed by the response from Tehran to his New Year message, and what happens next?

Which reminds me - finally on this subject, and in keeping with my new mood of admiration for his style - what an outrage it is that the press here criticise Obama for using a prompter for his structured appearences, but then stand up to ask their questions with written questions held in quivering fingers!

The man next to me (I peeped - hey I am a reporter) had actually written out his question under the heading MR PRESIDENT! As if without prompting he was unsure of his ability to remember the name of the 44th leader of the free world. Hillarious.

Comments

  • 1. At 6:21pm on 25 Mar 2009, cannonballmartin wrote:

    The problem is, I (along with many others) don't want the most powerful person in the world reading to me someone else's words. Get out a piece of paper if you need to read something. The telemprompters are transparent for a reason: you aren't supposed to notice them. They were created to be deceptive and it fits snugly in the world of politics.

    Using a telemprompter doesn't make one a bad president or a bad person. But a sheet of paper is all that's needed. When they put up see-through screens in locations that the presidents appears to be looking at his crowd while he reads, it is purposeful deception.

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  • 2. At 6:29pm on 25 Mar 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    A lot ofthe criticsim against Obama seems to be essentially trivial. So he uses a teleprompter. Does it matter at all?

    Maybe his taste in shoes is appalling

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  • 3. At 6:50pm on 25 Mar 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Justin,

    The man is a class act. Glad you're able to recognise it.

    We'll just have to let things cook at their own rate in Tehran. Personally, I suspect Obama feels there's little point in badgering from either side, and that's my opinion as well. It's taken thirty years of misguided "send them to Coventry" attitude, and there's no way to an instant correction. I'm sure the "back channels" are constructively engaged.

    You're getting a bit manic with the blog posts. Why not try and contribute once in a while further down-thread? You'll get an impressive coloured background...

    Peace and Justice
    Hesiodos

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  • 4. At 7:08pm on 25 Mar 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Quote of the week:

    Responding to a question from NBC’s Chuck Todd, Obama implied that too much of the nation’s economy in recent years has hinged on the imaginary gains of the finance industry.

    "I mean, when you have an economy in which the majority of growth is coming from the financial sector, when AIG selling a derivative is counted as an increase in the Gross Domestic Product, then that's not a model for sustainable economic growth...."

    Somebody should tell Gordo.

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  • 5. At 7:19pm on 25 Mar 2009, duhbuh wrote:

    The man next to me (I peeped - hey I am a reporter) had actually written out his question under the heading MR PRESIDENT!

    That was to remind him not say what he was really thinking - MY SAVIOUR! (It wasn't Matt Frei was it?)

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  • 6. At 7:30pm on 25 Mar 2009, duhbuh wrote:

    BTW it's "Hilarious" not "Hillarious", unless that's a reference to the Secretary of State in some sort of enigmatic jokey way as is your wont.



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  • 7. At 7:46pm on 25 Mar 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    I suppose the double standard that US Presidents are held up to reflect the unrealistic expectations that we have from people that are no different from the rest of us, from a humsan perspective. Obviously, President Obama is an eloquent and intelligent speaker, which can not be said for all his predecessors and much less for many of the journalists that act as judges when they themselves are the most deserving of judgment.

    I doubt President Obama is disappointed with the response he received from Iran. He is a pragmatic and realistic leader who understands the need for patience and the value of persistence. I am sure he understands that the slightest sign of weakness from the Ayatollahs or Khamenei would spell disaster in the upcoming elections. Reconciliation and improved relations are likely to take place regardless of who wins the election, but overt expressions of support from Tehran should not be expected from anyone until after the election. In the interim, President Obama looks like a generous statesman, and managed to put the Iranian leadership on the defensive by extending an olive branch. A brilliant diplomatic move on his part.

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  • 8. At 8:28pm on 25 Mar 2009, TiredOfHotAir wrote:

    Obama thinks better on his feet and is more articulate than was Bush II or even Bill Clinton. Occasionally during the news conference he hesitated for a few seconds while he mentally constructed responses to questions, but then he generally provided lucid and thoughtful answers.

    Regarding Iran, the response of that country's leadership to Obama's video indicates deep suspicions of American objectives and a feeling that, while Obama's packaging may be more conciliatory than was the Bush administration's the intended U.S. outcome will be the same. Given past and present American interventions in Iran its leaders are likely wiser than the U.S. politicians acknowledge privately or even publicly. Obama in the past has indicated that he supports the approach taken since the Islamic Revolution. For there now to be a different American goal would mean that Obama would need to convince Tehran that such is the case while at the same time placating American hard liners. Iran's clerics probably will be looking for hard evidence of a U.S. change before committing themselves to serious talks.

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  • 9. At 8:34pm on 25 Mar 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "My question for the President was going to be about Iran - was he disappointed by the response from Tehran to his New Year message, and what happens next?"

    It's a pity he didn't call on you, because judging by his last answer (which seemed scripted to me), he wanted to say something about it. I believe his answer would have been that it was indeed something that the Ayatollah (and not Ahmadinejad) that answered, and something along the lines of Rome not being built in a day. Of course, that's just a guess.

    Justin, what determines whom the President calls on? Are we to read something into the fact that the BBC (and the New York Times) were passed over?

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  • 10. At 8:59pm on 25 Mar 2009, Pim_van_Delft wrote:

    HilLarious indeed, Justin.

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  • 11. At 10:06pm on 25 Mar 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Be careful Justin your press colleagues may demand your card.

    The press has a far to high oppinion of themselves. Most of them are idealouges and not reporters

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  • 12. At 10:49pm on 25 Mar 2009, mary gravitt wrote:

    It was interesting that President Obama remarked on how surprised the female reporter was to be called on for her question. This shows that the so-called Washington Press Corp has been hogging up the sceen asking useless information. A Press Corp should do just what it name says press all politicans for information concerning the peoples' business.

    I listened to every broadcast word that came out of George W. Bush's mouth. The Bible says, What comes out of the mouth, comes out of the heart. And in the Book of James it says, The tongue is a small member of the body, but the most dangerous because it can kill. I now hear "experts" saying that Obama comes on the media too much; he gives too many speeches and talks to the people too much. The same type of experts tried to disuade parents from taking their children close to Christ because they thought he too was overexposed. But Christ said, Suffer the little children to come unto me.

    Obama is not Christ, nor any other god in earthly form. He is our President and is answerable to the people of the United States. All those experts on OVEREXPOSURE got too used to Bushspeak, and when a man speaks, they are afraid.

    Speak On Mr. President. Let those that are afraid hide under their beds along with Bush and Cheney.

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  • 13. At 11:11pm on 25 Mar 2009, MrCynical wrote:

    How often did Mr Obama's predecessor use a teleprompter? In all the bleating from Fox News (they are the in the vanguard of this nonsense, and I watch them in the UK just for comedy value) this comparison has never been drawn.

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  • 14. At 11:33pm on 25 Mar 2009, Swamilicious wrote:

    1:
    "The problem is, I (along with many others) don't want the most powerful person in the world reading to me someone else's words"

    They all have speech writers!!!! Who says those that read off paper wrote the notes out themselves?!

    "When they put up see-through screens in locations that the presidents appears to be looking at his crowd while he reads, it is purposeful deception."

    I suppose a woman wearing make-up is deception too?

    Given the amount of press the teleprompter is getting and the fact that he still uses it, if he was trying to deceive anybody then he would be an idiot!!! Give him some more credit.

    I've seen him use paper, but come on now, a teleprompter is superior! And harder to pull off I imagine... personally I prefer not having to watch speakers look down all the time.

    How about the questions, no teleprompting or anything!

    Maybe we should wheel Dubya back out and lose all this deception!

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  • 15. At 00:33am on 26 Mar 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Things must be going very well indeed when the only thing we can debate is the fact that President Obama uses a tele-prompter or paper to deliver his speeches, the same way his predecessors did. Consequently, I am going to assume that he solved all the problems created by his predecessor in a record two month time! I take all my objections to Messianic attributes back and take my hat off to the GOP fundies who recognized a medicine man before he became aware of his own mystical powers.

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  • 16. At 00:47am on 26 Mar 2009, U13817236 wrote:

    The whole presidential 'press conference' charade is hilarious, it's hard to tell which is more risible, the written fawning questions of the journalistic jobbers or the teleprompted canned answers of the corporate-puppet president. Actually, it's even more hilarious to be using Cold War propaganda terminology like 'free world'. Too bad no toady reporter got to ask Obama Copacabana if he was ready to aplogize to Iran for the American-orchestrated coup that overthrew the freely elected government of Iran in '53 - or all the other nasty things the 'leaders of the free world' (who seem to have a great affection for third-world dictators) have done to Iran since.

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  • 17. At 02:17am on 26 Mar 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    I can see how Obama is responsible for apologizing for events in 1953 and everything since. And he doesn't seem to be a corporate puppet for Haliburton, Exxon, the Saudis, the health care industry, or banks -- he must be a puppet for corporate Acorn and corporate socialist communism... and possibly his publishing house.

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  • 18. At 02:25am on 26 Mar 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 16

    "...if he was ready to aplogize to Iran for the American-orchestrated coup that overthrew the freely elected government of Iran in '53..."

    We already have. Clinton issued the apology. How many times must we apologize?

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  • 19. At 03:05am on 26 Mar 2009, i_ambendave wrote:

    I can see now Obama will be the who can solve this big problem the world financial crisis.

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  • 20. At 03:11am on 26 Mar 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #12. marygrav: "I listened to every broadcast word that came out of George W. Bush's mouth."

    I haven't calculated the number but, compared to other presidents, his broadcast statements seem very few. He was neither natural when extemporaneous nor comfortable with an autocue/TelePrompTer.

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  • 21. At 04:08am on 26 Mar 2009, abaloneca1 wrote:

    When the journalist repeated the question to President Obama, "Why did it take you so long to comment after learning that the AIG executives received multi-million dollar retention bonuses paid for by the bail out bill?" His response was, "The reason it took a couple of days was because, I don't like to comment on things until I know the facts." He wasn't looking at a teleprompter when he made that remark, nor did he show any sign of sarcasm towards the journalist. There may have been an implication that the journalist didn't know what he was talking about,but that interpretation was left to the observers. Obama is a class act, and didn't give any signs of, "I gotcha on that one."

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  • 22. At 04:58am on 26 Mar 2009, abaloneca1 wrote:

    but then stand up to ask their questions with written questions held in quivering fingers! (End of paragraph 2.)
    Lets just remove the exclamation mark, replace it with comma, and add the following; quivering fingers, blushing red faces, and such a horrible look of disappointment that, after all their careful planning, the dang President reponded in a thoughtful and intelligent manner.

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  • 23. At 05:26am on 26 Mar 2009, Sandrasoto wrote:

    In response to #8: No one is more articulate than Bill Clinton. No one. Obama, a very smart individual, does not have the knowledge, experience, book smarts and academic achievement that Clinton has. We need to go back to Lincoln to get his par.

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  • 24. At 07:47am on 26 Mar 2009, the-real-truth wrote:

    Justin

    Any comment on the reception of Daniel Hannans speech by the Americans?

    The BBC seem to be pretending that it never happend!

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  • 25. At 08:59am on 26 Mar 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    16 DouglasFeith wrote:
    "The whole presidential 'press conference' charade is hilarious, it's hard to tell which is more risible, the written fawning questions of the journalistic jobbers or the teleprompted canned answers of the corporate-puppet president. Actually, it's even more hilarious to be using Cold War propaganda terminology like 'free world'"


    Douglas - where have you been for the last 8 years? Bush II was famous for having questions vetted in advance, and then barring or refusing to call any journalist who asked "difficult" (read "pertinent") questions.

    Everyone uses teleprompters - newsreaders, politicians, many public speakers .... what's the big deal?

    All politicians use speech-writers and researchers.

    And for cold war style propaganda look no further than "axis of evil".....


    Douglas, get some perspective please. I have no problem with you criticising Obama, but do not fall into the trap of forgetting his predecessor.

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  • 26. At 09:08am on 26 Mar 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #16

    Will you also ask the Iranains to apologize for invading the U.S Embassy?

    Long live the Shah! Iran was no threat under his rule.

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  • 27. At 11:13am on 26 Mar 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 26, Magic

    "Long live the Shah! Iran was no threat under his rule."

    The same can be said for every tin pot dictator we have supported in the past. Are you now endorsing totalitarianism?

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  • 28. At 11:38am on 26 Mar 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Majik,

    I think you'll find the Shah has long ceased to live...

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  • 29. At 11:52am on 26 Mar 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #26 Magic

    Long live the Shah! Iran was no threat under his rule.

    The only people he threatened were Iranians - you see them as fair game!

    What's with your support for police states?

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  • 30. At 11:59am on 26 Mar 2009, carolinalady wrote:

    It struck me that the White House press corps still hasn't made the adjustment to querying an intelligent man who speaks in complete sentences and EXPLAINS things. It might behoove the reporters to ask better questions and not expect stupidities and sound bites as answers. Whether or not one agrees politically with him, three rousing cheers for a President who talks to Americans as though we're adults!

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  • 31. At 12:07pm on 26 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    3. At 6:50pm on 25 Mar 2009, Hesiodos
    well said

    4 WELL SAID.glad to see you heard that one about the GDP


    Justin very good. you are seeing there is some effort to deride Obama that frankly is somewhat obsessive.

    This tele prompter thing is such a joke.
    Bush couldn't even read from one.
    But no one on the right mentioned that. Now they slam Obama because he can read.

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  • 32. At 12:16pm on 26 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    On the teleprompter.

    I have to say those complaining should listen to the radio. then there is no looking,If that is the problem.
    but here is the reality.
    WHO on earth makes speeches that long without notes(or a prompter tele or not).

    Now those that criticise would obviously like Obama to sit down and go over it time and time again and remember it by rote.
    That he would spend more time memorising everything like an actor so he can deliver lines sans prompt.

    That he be able to say his lines well but having had no input into the content.

    That would be the GOP way. Get the message from Karl and read it if you can.

    I would prefer he went about the business of being president.

    That he have input in the speech and that he be able to read it out , and I would prefer he did not waste his time laboriously memorising lines that will not be needed tomorrow.

    Most of the complainants could not recite their two line posts. let alone a speech.

    Obama's job is not memorising lines in a soap. (though I suspect he would be pretty good at it.)

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  • 33. At 12:29pm on 26 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "We already have. Clinton issued the apology. How many times must we apologize?"



    Once BUT SINCERELY . And that was not clintons strong point. Either one.

    Sandrasoto.

    Clinton was good at speeking but a totally crap politician.
    He was partly responsible fot the situation we are in now. He and summers were there fr the deregulation that allowed the crap to hit the fan.
    He was also there when the manufacturing industry of america was sold to the Chinese and anyone else that would take our pollution.

    He was good at lying and not much else.(though I will give him some credit for bringing a resolution to N Ireland. and an attempt at the mid east.

    The Wealth created during his time was the derivative type wealth. FAKE


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  • 34. At 12:33pm on 26 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    30 carolina ldy.
    lol

    it does seem that way.

    and yes it seemed to me that Bush was like having Truely wrong or someone talking to you. and when you didn't understand what they said because it makes no sense they try to treat you like a kid. Because they are kids with no understanding except the way of the high school bully.

    And normally they don't realise their jokes are not funny nor do they make sense.

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  • 35. At 12:48pm on 26 Mar 2009, Swamilicious wrote:

    "USA back under adult supervision"

    Justin, shame you didn't get to ask your question. I think I would have asked if he's reviewing the amount of aid they give to Israel and whether he thinks it has any bearing on Iran and the other 'difficulties' in the area.

    20 - I don't know how many times Bush spoke publicly but I think it is strange hearing people talk about Obama's 'over exposure'- I'd have thought the more he speaks and the more transparent he is the better!

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  • 36. At 2:17pm on 26 Mar 2009, bere54 wrote:

    35 Swami -

    It does seem strange. I thought "over exposure" problems occurred only with movie stars. This kvetching indicates that those engaging in it cannot find anything substantive to pick on. It's the same as with Michelle Obama's "over exposure" -- her daring to bare arms in public seems to have infuriated a lot of Americans (some have even called a sleeveless dress "skimpy" clothing), which lets you know they can't find anything actually important to complain about.

    And then these people defend themselves by saying "well, you people complained about Bush all the time; we can complain about the Obamas." Um, let's see. Starting needless wars vs. talking to the public. Torturing prisoners vs. naked biceps. Wow. They're right!

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  • 37. At 2:18pm on 26 Mar 2009, TheFirstRalph wrote:

    The issue is not that Obama uses a teleprompter, but that he seems to have become reliant on one and what that suggests about him. It's not really a big issue but an interesting insight into his character and mind set.

    That said if Bush had done it we would be swamped with self appointed 'experts' telling us how bad it was. Let's hope that the coverage of Obama is more adult, hint Justin.

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  • 38. At 3:37pm on 26 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    It's the same as with Michelle Obama's "over exposure" -- her daring to bare arms in public seems to have infuriated a lot of Americans (some have even called a sleeveless dress "skimpy" clothing)


    woohhw
    trying to get Sam worked up again.;)

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  • 39. At 3:54pm on 26 Mar 2009, bere54 wrote:

    37: "what that suggests about him"

    Um, so what does that suggest? Other than that he is aware of the power of the written and spoken word and has points he wants to get across without error?

    Oooh, that is so suspicious!

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  • 40. At 4:43pm on 26 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    39 he would prefer an actor who says the lines but doesn't think.It seems.

    I wonder if he was a Reagan fan.

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  • 41. At 6:59pm on 26 Mar 2009, Swamilicious wrote:

    37: "The issue is not that Obama uses a teleprompter, but that he seems to have become reliant on one and what that suggests about him. It's not really a big issue but an interesting insight into his character and mind set."

    Interesting Ralph, care to share the insight in to his character that you have drawn from the fact that he hasn't memorised his lines and is using a more modern way to prompt himself than paper?

    Can you tell me what conclusions we can draw about those that use other forms of prompting, i.e. paper notes?

    'naked biceps' made me laugh, isn't that an oxymoron? I wonder if the outrage was just a case of 'cep envy!

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  • 42. At 9:27pm on 26 Mar 2009, bere54 wrote:

    41, Swami -

    I for one admit to bicep envy (but not to outrage over naked ones). I worked for years trying to develop sculpted upper arms but was once told by a gym trainer that "you can't build muscle out of thin air." He advised me to eat lots of bagels to bulk up and then turn the bulk into muscle. Are bagels fattening? Well, I still just have two toothpicks with elbows hanging from my shoulders. Am I jealous of Michelle Obama? You bet. And I hope she continues to display those powerful biceps with pride.

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  • 43. At 02:55am on 27 Mar 2009, U13873932 wrote:

    Was this thread to have been about the USA and Iran?

    I only recall about four such posts.

    Why do you suppose that the subject has not been addressed more?

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  • 44. At 10:46am on 27 Mar 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    42 bere

    This is the United States. Ask the NRA- Michelle Obama, and anyone else, will always have the right to bare arms.

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  • 45. At 6:32pm on 27 Mar 2009, TheFirstRalph wrote:

    39: It suggests inexperience, as a competent politician should be able to think on their feet, and a closed mind only willing to repeat what they have already written.

    40: There's not much difference between the two.

    41: The issue isn't the use of teleprompters but Obama's heavy reliance on one, and the mess he gets himself in when they fail.

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  • 46. At 8:01pm on 27 Mar 2009, bere54 wrote:

    45 -

    You're right that the issue isn't the use of teleprompters. The issue with you is that you very obviously dislike Obama and that you will make an issue of anything you can about him. Your dislike seems to be almost personal and one wonders if it stems from racial feelings or whether you would have such an intense distaste for any Democratic president. I suppose you will claim neither is true, but you can't disguise the fact that your comments ooze with your dislike of the man. The clue is in the irrationality of your remarks, as in calling Obama an inexperienced, incompetent politician. Whether one is in favor of his policies or not, it is absurd to deny, after the campaign he ran and the election he won, that he is in fact an experienced, competent politician. Grasping at teleprompters is so vapid. An inexperienced politician would have difficulty reading from a teleprompter.

    So now you'll just have to come up with something else. I'm sure it will be just as pointless, but perhaps you'll surprise me.

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  • 47. At 00:55am on 28 Mar 2009, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    Iran will do what Irans wants to do and needs to do to insure that their oil reserves are safe and secure. At this point, I believe there is nothing more to do than to trust Iran. I think they are too smart to use nuclear weapons toward Israel. I do believe though that having weapons will level out the playing field in the region. I personally think there will be stability because of it.

    You can't keep going to the bargaining table when one side has a cannon and the other side only has a stick. It does not work that way. Even though Iran has spoken out on the existance of Israel, I feel they will find it to be in the best interest not to attack Israel. It's a chance we have to take. Neither our Government nor the Government of Israel know for sure where all the nuclear facilities are within Iran.

    That, in itself, should tell people that there really is nothing to prevent them from achieving their goal.

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  • 48. At 10:35am on 28 Mar 2009, TheFirstRalph wrote:

    46: Adults can criticise a politican without disliking him, and respond to people's posts without calling them racists. Perhaps my call for the media to treat Obama in an adult way should expand to a suggestion that his supporters behave the same way.

    Have a nice weekend.

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  • 49. At 1:59pm on 28 Mar 2009, bere54 wrote:

    48 -

    I agree that that the media should treat Obama in an adult way, and stop trying to create controversy over things like teleprompters and his wife's arms. I suggest you do the same; perhaps then your comments would not come across as childish dislike. I am not a "supporter" of any particular politician but feel non-partisan annoyance when the focus is on the trivial, and when the obvious is denied.

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  • 50. At 2:15pm on 28 Mar 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    38 happylaze wrote:
    "It's the same as with Michelle Obama's "over exposure" -- her daring to bare arms in public seems to have infuriated a lot of Americans"


    Does no one remember Jackie Kennedy - Queen of the sleeveless dress.

    Or was she just trying to entice JFK to stop shagging other birds!

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  • 51. At 3:03pm on 28 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 52. At 3:04pm on 28 Mar 2009, happylaze wrote:

    48 I will why don't you loose yourself in the woods. I hear it can be uplifting.

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  • 53. At 05:57am on 29 Mar 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    3. Hesiodos or Ed?
    Curious why you picked this one?
    Three brothers in the rag trade : Hesiodos, Eurypides, and Eubiedes

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  • 54. At 06:27am on 29 Mar 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    37, 40, 41 etc.,

    Ralph, have you ever tried to answer questions on the spur of the moment from an audience?

    Now imagine that the "audience" is going to be composed of some very bright people who have risen to the top of their profession because they know how to do research, and know how to ask questions, some of whom are paid very substantial amounts of money because of the relative scarcity of this ability (notwithstanding the loudly expressed view of one newspaper tycoon that journalists are lazy, stupid and easily replaced).

    Now imagine that they can ask questions on any topic, from the most complicated financial question, to why your pastor, campaign donor, former school friend, or old old girlfriend, said this or did that, or was found in bed with, or was ingesting, or was stopped by the police for...

    Now imagine that your answers are going to be broadcast live.

    To the entire world.

    You will almost certainly be the lead story on every news show from Belfast to Beijing.

    Now imagine that the slightest gaff you make, no matter how small, will get you into trouble with some group somewhere.

    Now imagine that if you use the wrong adjective in the wrong place, or even hesitate a second too long, or frown, or even laugh, at the wrong time, the Dow will open 200 points lower tomorrow morning, or there will be a run on some bank, or some tinpot dictator will see a green light to invade a neighbouring country.

    Oh, and all the while you can't be too serious, or you will be considered aloof and elitist; you can't be too folksy or you will be thought a bumpkin; you can't be to cautious, or you will be thought to be hiding something; you can't lose your temper; you can't use certain words; you can't smill too much, or laugh too storngly, or you will be seen as not taking problems seriously enough ...

    And you don't think the presenter should prepare himself (or herself) rigorously? You criticize him (or anyone else in that position) for using a teleprompter? How many people do you think can present like that, with or without a teleprompter?

    What would you think of a litigator who didn't prepare for trial?
    There is a reason that top litigators bill out their time at US$ 1200/hr.
    It is because the skills required to present effectively and semi-spontaneously on your feet are comparatively rare.

    It's all about preparation. Of course they prepare. For a man in his position, whose words will be parsed and interpreted in world capitals and in the markets, it would be grossly negligent to do otherwise.

    Thinking on your feet in that kind of forum is not as easy as it looks - not by a long chalk.

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  • 55. At 2:56pm on 29 Mar 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Foreigner (54),

    Very well presented! Seconded with enthusiasm!

    Hesiod came to see me some time ago, and I've been a fan ever since. My favourite intermediator is Stanley Lombardo, who knows it's oral material, and uses a "conversational English" voice.

    "Professor Lombardo has given dramatic readings of his translations on campuses throughout the country, as well as at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Poetry Center and on National Public Radio. He is presently at work on an audio book of his translations of Iliad and Odyssey."

    and you can hear him in Ancient Greek....

    I was blown away by Stan's Hesiod, and opened a correspondence, asking him if he was aware of a Kentucky neighbour, a certain Wendell Berry. His response was immediate - he had had the pleasure of meeting WB, and, "His persona deeply influenced my Hesiod".....

    Stanley's Lao Tzu is my favourite translation of the eight or ten I have (or have read).

    So now you know ;-)

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  • 56. At 3:06pm on 29 Mar 2009, bere54 wrote:

    54, Interested -

    Good post. I think you pretty well wrapped up that matter. At least I hope so.

    Of course, with Ralph and his ilk, the teleprompter is not really the issue; inventing weaknesses is what it's all about. They'll just go on to something else petty. And this is odd, because there are plenty of meaty issues that reasonable people can disagree on.

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  • 57. At 6:41pm on 29 Mar 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Justin:
    My question for the President was going to be about Iran - was he disappointed by the response from Tehran to his New Year message, and what happens next? Excellent question, Was you able to asked the question?...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 58. At 2:53pm on 01 Apr 2009, TheFirstRalph wrote:

    54: Points well made. As I said from the start it isn't a big issue but a possible interesting insight into his character.

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