Linus has his security blanket.
Obama has his teleprompters.
The difference is Obama isn’t a kid, but the President of the most powerful country in the world.
Nor is Obama cute like Linus.
The Hindustan Times reports today, November 8, 2010:
[When the] silver-tongued Barack Obama [addresses the Indian parliament this evening, he’ll have] a teleprompter which the US president uses ever so often for his hypnotising speeches.
According to parliament sources, a technical team from the US has helped the Lok Sabha secretariat install textbook-sized panes of glass around the podium that will give cues to Obama on his prepared remarks to 780 Indian MPs on the evening of Nov 8.
…Obama will make history for more than one reason during the Nov 6-9 visit. This will be the first time a teleprompter will be used in the nearly 100-feet high dome-shaped hall that has portraits of eminent national leaders adorning its walls.
Indian politicians are known for making impromptu long speeches and perhaps that is why some parliament officials, who did not wish to be named, sounded rather surprised with the idea of a teleprompter for Obama.
“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.
Obama is known to captivate audiences with his one-liners that sound like extempore and his deep gaze. But few in India know that the US president always carries the teleprompter with him wherever he speaks.
Teleprompters, also called autocue or telescript, are mostly used by TV anchors to read out texts scrolling on a screen and attached to a camera in front of them.
…Parliament security officials have decided that barring special invitees and former MPs, no visitor would be allowed inside when Obama addresses the MPs. Only journalists who have permanent radio-frequency passes would be allowed inside the Central Hall to cover the event.
In all my years of university teaching, public speeches, conference presentations, and two stints of lecturing at the U.S. Marine Corps War College, I have never used a teleprompter. As an American, I am thoroughly embarrassed by Obama. Now even Indians are laughing at us.