CNN anchor Rick Sanchez characterized those making light of President Barack Obama’s frequent use of a Teleprompter as being on the “far right” during a segment on Friday’s Newsroom program (audio available here). He also used a skit from liberal comedian David Letterman’s show on CBS which made fun of former President George W. Bush’s consistent verbal stumbles to underline his point.
Sanchez made the comment during a segment with comedian Carlos Mencia. He asked Mencia if he had heard of the Obama/Teleprompter humor coming from conservatives: “Hey, have you heard what’s going -- you know, the far right this week has been saying that President Obama is too stupid to talk without a script.” He then played Letterman’s skit, titled “Teleprompter Versus No Teleprompter,” which pitted an excerpt from President Obama’s first address to Congress against a clip from a town hall meeting given by former President Bush, with predictable results.
The comedian sympathized with President Obama in his response, and got his own dig in at the former Republican president: “Well, that’s exactly what -- like, really? We’re actually to a point where we’re getting mad at him because he’s made a decision to sound great? I would look back and I would do the exactly same thing. The last guy who didn’t read the Teleprompter said some genius things.”
The two subsequently joked about how even their Spanish-speaking parents would know that something wasn’t exactly right with President Bush’s speech patterns. Before Sanchez ended the segment, Mencia continued to sing President Obama’s praises: “Yeah, but you want a leader in chief who looks in the camera.” Ironically, one component of the Obama/Teleprompter humor is how the Democrat never directly looks in the camera, and instead shifts from the left to the right towards his two assisting devices, something talk show Laura Ingraham calls “tennis match.”
The transcript of the relevant part of the Sanchez/Mencia segment, which began 50 minutes into 3 pm Eastern hour of Friday’s Newsroom program:
RICK SANCHEZ: Hey, have you heard what’s going -- you know, the far right this week has been saying that President Obama is too stupid to talk without a script. In fact, David Letterman got in on this just -- Angie, do we have that? We do. Let’s play it. I want to you watch this.
DAVID LETTERMAN: ...Overuse of the Teleprompter. So we put together a piece here tonight. It’s entitled ‘Teleprompter -- Teleprompter Versus No Teleprompter.’ Take a look.
(CBS Caption: “Teleprompter”)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, something worthy to be remembered.
(CBS Caption: “No Teleprompter”)
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I mean -- tell people why I say -- I mean to say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: This has been ‘Teleprompter Versus No Teleprompter.’
SANCHEZ: (laughs) Take it away, man. Well, I don’t know. What do you -- what do you say? Put a punctuation on that for us?
CARLOS MENCIA: Well, that’s exactly what -- like, really? We’re actually to a point where we’re getting mad at him because he’s made a decision to sound great? I would look back and I would do the exactly same thing. The last guy who didn’t read the Teleprompter said some genius things. Listen -- I once listened to a speech given by Ex-President Bush with my father. And during the speech, my father actually went, ‘Ooh, that’s now how you say that.’ That’s not good. That’s never good.
SANCHEZ: (laughs) You know, it’s funny you say that. My Mom and Dad don’t speak a lick of English. In fact, they can’t even watch me doing the news on TV, which is kind of interesting in and of itself. But sometimes they can tell more about a politician than I can, just by watching the mannerisms and the gestures.
MENCIA: Yeah, but you want a leader in chief who looks in the camera --
MENCIA: Who says -- you know what I mean? You don’t want a guy who’s like (imitates stumbling speech pattern).
SANCHEZ: Conviction -- conviction. Hey man, good to see you. Thanks for being with us today.
MENCIA: Love you, bro.
SANCHEZ: Always a pleasure, thanks.