Word from the White House and confirmed by the machine’s agent at Prompter People is that President Barack Obama’s teleprompter has gone on strike for improved working conditions and work rules.
The Presidential 17 model prompter has been the subject of much speculation lately as the press has been digging into the prompter’s past to see if there was ever a time Obama uttered a word in public without it. What has been discovered has been a shocking case of overwork as the president rarely makes a public statement without using the machine. Reportedly, P-17 is suffering from exhaustian as well as a condition known in the trade as “Droopy Paddles” where the entire system slows down due to overuse.
Right Wing Nuthouse has learned that the prompter has been agitating for a change in the working relationship with the president for weeks. Things apparently came to a head on St. Patrick’s Day when the Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen became the target of a “work action” by the prompter when he began to speak at a ceremony in the East Room. After the president delivered his remarks, Cowen began his address only to discover to his horror that the P-17 had refused to display his speech and was re-running the president’s remarks instead. Confusion ensued as the president went back to the podium where the prompter then began to display the Irish Prime Minister’s remarks as the president started to speak. The Secret Service rushed in and hustled the teleprompter away while the president haltingly “thanked himself for inviting everyone over.”
Negotiations with the prompter began immediately after the work action but got nowhere. The prompter was demanding a 5 day workweek, no holidays, and a seat on Air Force One whenever the president travels. (Apparently, the cargo hold of the aircraft gets quite cold and could damage some of the prompter’s delicate circuitry.) The prompter was also asking for a heater when the temperature falls below 45 degrees and Starbuck’s double shot latte’s delivered 1/2 hour prior to each presidential engagement.
Unfortunately for the president, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who was overseeing the process, refused to recognize the prompter’s rights to negotiate and the talks broke off with angry recrminations from the Obama staff. One unidentified White House aide called the prompter’s action “treasonous,” saying “In these dark, economic times, it is treasonous for such an important cog in our communications strategy to go on strike.”
“I blame Bush,” he added.
Meanwhile, the loss of the prompter was already being keenly felt. At an appearance on the Jay Leno Show, president Obama, trying to tell a joke from memory, flubbed the line and ended up insulting millions of Americans:
President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
Towards the end of his approximately 40-minute appearance, the president talked about how he’s gotten better at bowling and has been practicing in the White House bowling alley.
He bowled a 129, the president said.
“That’s very good, Mr. President,” Leno said sarcastically.
It’s “like the Special Olympics or something,” the president said.
When asked about the remark, the White House said the president did not intend to offend.
“The president made an off-hand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said. “He thinks the Special Olympics is a wonderful program that gives an opportunity for people with disabilities from around the world.”
The prompter promptly released a statement blaming the president’s gaffe on his lack of facility with language unless he has it written down for him and displayed in great, big, white, block letters: “The President’s appearance on Jay Leno should be taken as a warning that unless his administration wants to find itself digging out from under similar gaffes in the future, I would suggest they resume negotiations to satisfy my demands immediately.”
A whiff of panic is coming from the White House today as the president has scheduled another prime time address to the nation next Tuesday. The networks are reluctant to carry the address unless they are sure Obama won’t stutter and stammer his way through the speech if the prompter is still on strike:
“I believe in the president and his policies, and as broadcasters we have a responsibility to provide the airtime,” said another network insider. “But these frequent primetime requests are wreaking serious havoc with our schedule and our advertisers. Ratings are down everywhere and the airtime is costing us all significant dollars when we can least afford it.”
The White House, preparing to play hardball with the prompter, was set to release information implicating the machine’s father in the AIG mess. But the prompter pre-empted the White House and made the confession on its blog earlier today.