September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin was forced to give half of her speech from memory, without the use of the Teleprompter.

Or that's the word from the McCain campaign. The same thing, they say, also happened to Giuliani. Both had to rely on memory and improvisation.

Now, who can say whether that's really true? Yes, they both deviated from the text that was sent out to the press. But it would be so easy -- easier than faking a pregnancy -- to send out one speech and load a slightly different one into the teleprompter and then lie about it.

Given the virulent meme about how Obama can't speak when he's off the teleprompter, it would be delightfully useful to get people to think Sarah Palin does brilliantly well without the device, even when she's under the highest pressure, when the stakes are highest, and when the need to go without it is a sudden surprise. It proves she's smart and able to deal with a crisis. It flaunts intimidating superpowers.

What's with these stories of unverifiable wondrous feats?

I want a DNA test.

AND: There's obviously a conspiracy theory available in the other direction. Was Sarah sabotaged?

56 comments:

Simon said...

It'd be cool if it was true, but I'm dubious - I'm pretty sure that I remember them cutting to a reverse angle where you could see the prompter at least a couple of times. On the other hand, I also recall her looking down at the podium several times in the second half of the speech and wondering why. So maybe that's right. It should be easy to prove, one way or the other - the media had cameras in a position that could see the teleprompter, so let's see the footage.

Roger J. said...

and this is an important datum of information why? I have seen u tubes of Gov Palin in interviews and debates--she doesnt need a teleprompter unlike some candidates I know. Senator Biden is about to find that out.

Meade said...

"I want a DNA test."

So is WAS you!

Mateo said...

Read the linked item: They're not saying she gave half the speech from memory. They're saying the teleprompter began malfunctioning halfway through. It was out of sync with where she was and with the applause breaks. It sounds like she had to speak some lines from memory at points until she caught up with what was on the screen. Still impressive, given the pressure.

Original Mike said...

I hope they fix it for McCain.

vbspurs said...

Though I agree with Simon, that WOULD actually make sense.

She seemed to hesitate in parts, and then speed up of a sudden as if she had JUST remembered her lines.

I thought it was a good oratorical trick, but yes, maybe that's what it was.

The lipstick/pitbull line was totally extemporaneous. I heard on Althouse she had used it frequently in stump speeches.

But a few of the remarks seemed like they were tacked on (when she pointed to her parents by name, she seemed to hesitate as if there was more stuff she was going to say, deciding to move on).

I did also catch glimpses of the two teleprompters, and in fact, I have both the CSPAN and Fox News versions of the speech on my DVD-R. It's interesting to note that MSNBC (I've watched all versions by now) captured a lot more crowd atmospherics, which were very distracting at times.

For example, Fox didn't show the infamous SisterSpit moment, but CSPAN, MSNBC, CNN all did.

But since the camera was trained on her face at all times, that was actually good.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"Given the virulent meme about how Obama can't speak when he's off the teleprompter..."

"virulent"? Why would criticizing Obama in this way be virulent? Was the Dan Quayle "potatoe" meme virulent? Or is suggesting that the One might be secretly inarticulate really just coded racism and hence beyond the pale?

MadisonMan said...

The lipstick/pitbull line reminds me of Ann Richards. Actually, the cadence of the speech also reminded me of Ann Richards.

BJK said...

There may well be some truth to this...since I do remember seeing her handling a paper copy of the speech towards the end. (I only remember because I thought it was odd...because of the teleprompters.)

Scrutineer said...

Simon - I remember them cutting to a reverse angle where you could see the prompter at least a couple of times.

Did you see that over-the-shoulder teleprompter shot for any other speakers, or just Palin?

Stephen said...

Thanks for the link to Michael Graham’s column on left-wing bias. Mickey Kaus has a very generous interpretation: reporters were misled by Edwards and won’t let that happen again, hence the Palin pile-on (convenient that the “mistake” rectification will be performed on a Republican). The maltreatment of Sarah Palin and her family is raising my bile, and I’m readying a check to the McCain campaign.

Did John McCain foresee any of this when he picked Sarah Palin? Pick your female mythological reference: the Furies are unleashed, and Pandora’s box is opened. We're in for a wild ride.

vbspurs said...

Yes! Good one, MadMan.

"He was born with a silver FOOT in his MOUTHHH."

Contrast that to:

"He's worried that someone won't READD them their RIGHTSS?"

Here's the official transcript of the speech, via NPR.

eric said...

That teleprompter was on the entire time. I suspect any "malfunction" had to do with her delivery - those things are programed and practised on many times in advance, and built-in pauses re-activate the narrative when she begins to speak again. She may have not waited long enough for applause and said something, only to wait a litter longer - that action would engage the teleprompter and she would have to try and "catch" it as a result.

vbspurs said...

hence the Palin pile-on (convenient that the “mistake” rectification will be performed on a Republican).

How convenient that they found their professionalism just in time for the Republican candidate.

Sorry, but I don't buy this logic of theirs.

Did John McCain foresee any of this when he picked Sarah Palin?

I said that comedy skit Ann linked to, via LisaNova, was actually prescient.

John McCain took the stage of the RNC, a little shell-shocked.

He knew she was good, but if you notice he kept leaning into TODD PALIN holding the baby, and telling HIM "marvellous, really good" twice. He didn't face Sarah, except for a hug where they didn't give each other eye-contact.

This suggests he was thinking, in a positive way though, somewhat like the comedian said at the end:

My God, what have I done?

TMink said...

Eric, you are mistaken. If you watch the vid again, you will see her shuffling papers trying to find her place and note that some of the stuff she was saying was certainly from memory. The whole thing, nope. 1/4th to 1/3rd, yep.

Trey

TMink said...

Palin = opposite of empty suit.

Trey

katherine said...

More proof that she’s smart and can think on her feet – did you forget she was a point guard? I, for one, will sleep better knowing that she can handle such crisis’ with such nimbleness and aplomb.

Meade said...

lipstick/pitbull line:

Crowd: *peals of delighted easy laughter*

Thought-bubble over Hockey Soon-to-be Son-in-law Levi "No One Intimidates My Bad-Ass-Redneck-Not-Wanting-Kids Self" Johnston:

"'ulp!"

vbspurs said...

Katherine, it's just been two speeches. I'm not ragging on you, and I am as high as a kite on her too.

But the woman has given two speeches, and she needs to prove herself in a major interview against a hard-hitting journalist. Let them throw the kitchen sink at her, questions-wise.

And then she'll wipe the floor with that Joe Biden guy in the debates. For some reason, despite his very real expertise, I think we can all feel that.

Russell said...

When I was watching it I said to my wife, is Rudy winging it? Is this how he was on the campaign trail? No wonder he lost. So, this explains that. Whether or not they are trying to make Palin look better, which strikes me as REALLY unnecessary. People who are hung up on the fact that someone else wrote her speech are not going to be swayed in the first place.

Again, Rudy sure looked like he was off teleprompter. She did not. So, if its true, she really does rock.

Tony said...

Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law; Palin graduated—without honors—from the University of Idaho. The RNC is pushing this story to show they also have a candidate that can be articulate and eloquent.

vbspurs said...

The RNC is pushing this story to show they also have a candidate that can be articulate and eloquent.

And they would be right.

Roger J. said...

ummmm Tony--that type of bullshit left the station last night--thats going to play very well in Ohio and PA--loser

MC said...

I heard her very first speech, when McCain offered her the VP spot, was done without a teleprompter.

And I've been hearing from people in Alaska who followed her campaign for governor was she was very good without a teleprompter.

It certainly seems credible.

EnigmatiCore said...

Ann,

As you point out, this is one of those things that is basically not verifiable, unless the full tape of the feed from the cameras that were positioned so that you could see the teleprompter text (there was at least one) is released.

Maybe we can get Andrew Sullivan to start demanding it!

But I suggest to you that there is an easier way for us to judge how likely this story is to be true.

The debates are coming up. If she turns out to be as nimble with her rhetoric there, without a teleprompter, that will be suggestive. She will likely be at some townhall meetings; how she handles those will be suggestive. She will likely end up being on talking face shows in the coming weeks, or even the coming months and years. Her performance on those will be suggestive.

I think, over time, we will get a good feel for if Sarah Palin is that adept of a speaker, or if there was a little bit of myth-making being attempted here.

Even with a prompter, it was a most impressive display.

Tony said...

Vbspurs,
I agree. Palin was a television sports broadcaster, so I'm sure she was quite comfortable working with a teleprompter that was on the fritz.

Peter V. Bella said...

These aren’t the actions of bad journalists. These are the actions of bad people. From the set of MSNBC to the pages of The Boston Globe-Democrat, there are people willing to do anything to elect Barack Obama, up to and including the trashing of a 17-year-old girl.

Bad? Evil is the appropriate word.

Peter V. Bella said...

MadisonMan said...
The lipstick/pitbull line reminds me of Ann Richards. Actually, the cadence of the speech also reminded me of Ann Richards.

When she was sober or drunk?

Donald Douglas said...

Awesome news, Althouse!!

vbspurs said...

I heard her very first speech, when McCain offered her the VP spot, was done without a teleprompter.

Yes, there were screens in Dayton, but she didn't use them (THAT one is clear, if you happen to see the speech again).

An MSNBC analyst said last night's speech was not effective, and was really two speeches (a shock I know).

In a way though I agree.

I think Michael Scully interwove parts of her Dayton speech into the RNC one, blending both to make it seem she was speaking in her own voice.

(Not to fool anyone, it was no secret he'd helped to craft the speech)

You'll notice the presentation of her family, specifically her husband's career was word-for-word identical to the Dayton one.

Hmm, actually, I'm beginning to think now she really did give that parts of that speech by heart.

Very impressive, since she could've had a moose in the headlights moment at any time, and she totally didn't.

former law student said...

It proves she's smart and able to deal with a crisis.

It suggests (not proves) she memorized her speech.

Yes, people used to commit long narratives to memory, before the electronic age.

I'm not sure why "pregnancy" is one of this post's tags, but it's a good place to note that the NYT ran an AP picture of Bristol's babydaddy with McCain, on the front page today.

Peter V. Bella said...

vbspurs said...
But the woman has given two speeches, and she needs to prove herself in a major interview against a hard-hitting journalist. Let them throw the kitchen sink at her, questions-wise.

I would love to see her body slam then slam dunk that puff ball cutie pie Couric.

MadisonMan said...

Peter (V. Bella): Is there any reason a person should take you seriously? You're Rudy Giuliani, except instead of (noun) (verb) 911, your schtick is (noun) (disparaging verb) (insulting adjective) democrat.

Daddio said...

Did you see that over-the-shoulder teleprompter shot for any other speakers, or just Palin?

I noticed the same thing. I can't remember ever seeing TV coverage showing the teleprompter scroll over a candidates shoulder. It fits nicely with the meme that was immediately trotted out that she "had a speech written for her" like that is an indication of her inexperience or some sort of anomaly. The arrogance of the MSM in regard to their viewers continues to amaze.

vbspurs said...

babydaddy

The word you search for is fiancé. Unlike real babydaddies, the boy is doing right by Bristol.

Joan said...

The word last night on the Corner and elsewhere was that the teleprompter operator was scrolling through the applause lines, in other words, it kept scrolling without pausing for the applause, which meant the Palin and Giuliani had to cover after each extended bout of applause. Considering how much applause they each got, that's a lot of covering.

I don't know that I would use the term "hard-hitting" to describe the CNBC interview that Palin did that aired over the weekend, but I thought she was fantastic in that. My husband said last night that he had high expectations of Palin before her speech because of how well she did in that interview.

She knows her stuff and is very articulate off-script. Here's a link. I don't know if that's all of it -- it was a looong interview, I think about 45 minutes at least, just Palin and Bartoromo, talking issues the entire time, no fluff or filler. I highly recommend it.

former law student said...

The word you search for is fiancé. Unlike real babydaddies, the boy is doing right by Bristol.

Ah I've been watching too much Fox News, I apologize.

Do you know why the lovebirds have been putting off their nuptials? It's possible to get married in two days at most -- one to get the license and the next to perform the ceremony. Blood tests are either no longer required, or waivable when the bride is pregnant.

Mrs. Palin can host the reception in the Governor's Residence, and Juneau offers dozens of potential officiants because it is the state capital.

So what's the holdup?

Holly said...

Ahem. Obama without the teleprompter - it doesn't look like a meme to me. Warning: if you have any sympathy for him at all, this is painful to watch. A friend said it's like a puppet with its strings cut off.

vbspurs said...

So what's the holdup?

Marriage to some is something you do at the Elvis Chapel drive-thru' in Vegas.

But to most, traditional-minded Americans, it is a vow you do not enter into lightly, even when there's a bairn on the way.

I suspect it'll happen soon. But never soon enough for Andrew Sullivan to start rooting for a divorce.

BTW, I got the Fox News slur the first time. I didn't care for their usage of that. But please note that they used it because MICHELLE used it herself in reference to Obama.

BLITZER: We can take a look. Maybe he will and maybe he won't but she looks like she's about to introduce him. Let's listen in.

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF BARACK OBAMA: My baby's daddy Barack Obama. Yeah!

BARACK OBAMA, SENATOR-ELECT, ILLINOIS: Thank you, Illinois. Thank you. Thank you, Illinois. I don't know about you but I'm still fired up. I am fired up. Look at this crowd. Thank you, Illinois.


So you know, at least get the attribution right.

rhhardin said...

I always used an index card, just to make sure all the topics were hit in the right order, in high school.

At work of course there were Vu-Graphs, which were shared index cards.

If you never say anything you don't think, you don't need the thing written out. Just say what you think.

MadisonMan said...

I think you mean viral meme, not virulent.

MC said...

Holly: Wow, no kidding. He's almost incoherent without it.

Simon Kenton said...

We don't think much of memory any more, and apparently don't believe kids' memories should be exercised, much less distended, but some humans are capable of remarkable feats, and regular humans of more than we expect. John Donne, for instance, would write his sermons weekly and deliver them from memory. They are as long as magnificent. See also accounts of the skalds.

It is certainly contrary to my experience with the political class in recent decades, but ... is it possible Ms Palin is not a havering dolt? Even, just faintly possible? That might explain tell-tale traces of her memory and intelligence during the delivery of last night's speech. Just sayin'...

John Stodder said...

But the woman has given two speeches, and she needs to prove herself in a major interview against a hard-hitting journalist. Let them throw the kitchen sink at her, questions-wise.

One of my first thoughts this morning was how much we're going to miss Tim Russert.

I can't think of another "hard-hitting journalist" that matches up with her. Oh, the TV world is full of journalists who will snarl at her, or by their questions subtly try to undermine her, but I suspect she'd eat them up. She's a savant. Russert in many ways used the same strategy she does: Smile, be charming, be relentless.

Maybe there's a Brit who could compete at her level.

The Drill SGT said...

John said...Russert in many ways used the same strategy she does: Smile, be charming, be relentless

you forgot the other R word that made him professional:

Research

Steve said...

"Now, who can say whether that's really true?"

Jonathan Martin of Politico, who was in a position to see the teleprompter, says it's not true - the teleprompter was working fine.

Mark said...

Yes, it would have been nice if Ann revised this post in the view of Politico's article debunking this self-serving meme coming from the McCain camp.

dave in boca said...

I remember the reverse angle & thought to myself that the prompter was going rapidly..... My guess is that some incompetent boob [Bill Clinton had the same thing happen during a SotUnion speech] messed up, and like Bill, Sarah quickly recovered.

Unlike Barry Hussein-O , who went deer-in-the-headlights when the same mishap hit him on one of his major speeches---Barry, regardless of Ann's opinion, is clueless without a script. His hemming & hawing in front of interviewers has been captured numerous times. Sarah could beat him in a debate on many things, and on energy, she is peerless.

markg8 said...

Palin was a lousy mayor who took a town with $0 debt in 1996 and left it $22 million in the hole in 2002, mostly from the hockey rink/sports complex she shoved down their throats which never became the money generator she promised it would. Another white elephant from another white elephant. Even with the stable Clinton economy during most of her mayoral tenure and Jack Abramoff's crony she hired to lobby Washington to help her now indicted buddy Ted Stevens ring up $27 million in federal pork for tiny Wasilla (pop. 5000 when she entered office) she still managed to leave the town swimming in debt. Three of her pork projects she got her pals from Washington to fund out of our pockets even made McCain's own wasteful spending list.

She was so heavy handed the town's folk forced her to hire an administrator to handle day to day operations or face a recall.

As governor she is borrowing from Alaska's future while she wants to give away today's Alaskan windfall oil tax bonanza and the huge surpluses they've generated in bread and circuses tax giveaways. Alaska gets 89% of it's operating budget from taxing oil coming out of the ground just like Arab kingdoms and Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. They have no state income or sales tax up there. Instead of using that windfall to pay for all the profligate spending her Republican legislature keep sending her she's issuing bonds to pay for it all which Alaskans and US taxpayers will have to pay off in future years while she takes credit for tax "rebates" while she's governor.

Her fiscal policy is a disaster in the making which won't hit til she's left the governor's office. She'd be a disaster as Vice President especially to a President who despite his grevious wounds and type A personality is already past the age his father and grandfather died of sudden heart attacks.

She can put on all the lipstick she wants but her political record is for the dogs.

P.S. The teleprompter broke story is a lie. Don't you ever get tired of being lied to?

1jpb said...

I don't think we needed to wait for Martin.

Does anyone seriously think that this original story would be filtered through an unnamed McCain person to a right wing blogger if it was true?

Of course not, and I have no doubt that Althouse knows this.

One more call of her "neutrality" bluff.

blake said...

I've read elsewhere on the tubes that they used the over-the-shoulder prompter shot for Fred.

Funny tho', not for any Dems. Dems all speak extemporaneously...from the heart!

Also: The prompter running the whole time doesn't mean it was at the correct spot, which is what's being discussed here. At least come back with the correct rebuttal.

wasabi_cat said...

If you watch the C-SPAN feed the teleprompter is clearly visable popping into view occasionally during the speech. At each time it was in synch with her words. Know how to tell this meme is a bunch of BS? "ACCORDING TO SOURCES CLOSE TO THE McCAIN CAMPAIGN, the teleprompter continued scrolling during applause breaks. As a result, half way through the speech, the speech had scrolled significantly from where Governor Palin was in the speech...."
It was a good speech she gave, there is no need to lie about the circumstances.

jeff said...

From the link...."Perhaps there were moments where it scrolled slightly past her exact point in the speech."

Yes, clearly debunked.

Tom Burg said...

totally false. seems a little sexist to me too. needing to prop up a woman. what's the McCain campaign afraid of?

Christine said...

Seriously? Seriously! Is this topic really being debated? This election is one of the most important of our times. Where is discussion of the real issues? Where are the explanations in laymen’s terms of the policies these candidates are proposing and how they will impact our lives? Where is the constructive sharing of ideas and thoughts on these topics? We only continue to divide our country and build resentment when we engage in and waste time on topics like these and name calling on BOTH sides. Let’s get to issues, and start discussions about policies!

nick said...

filthy liars

the GOP said teleprompter worked "flawlessly"