President Obama's custom of reading his prepared remarks off a teleprompter, hardly unusual among politicians, has been the subject of obsessive scorn in right-wing media. Recently the AP picked up this angle, calling Obama's use of the screen a "crutch." Then, in an interview with Robert Gibbs, Washington Post reporter Lois Romano suggested there was something noteworthy about the president's change from one kind of teleprompter to another at Tuesday's press conference. The White House spokesman wouldn't play along:
MS. ROMANO: The teleprompter changed last night.
MR. GIBBS: Mm-hmm.
MS. ROMANO: What was that about that? It's a big jumbotron now.
MR. GIBBS: You know can, I tell you this?
MS. ROMANO: Yes.
MR. GIBBS: I am absolutely amazed that anybody in America cares about who the President picks at a news conference or the mechanism by which he reads his prepared remarks. You know, I guess America is a wonderful country.
MS. ROMANO: You're saying this is all Washington Beltway stuff?
MR. GIBBS: I don't even know if it's that. I don't think I should implicate the many people that live in Washington.
MR. GIBBS: No, I you know, I don't think the President ... let me just say this: My historical research has demonstrated that the President is not the first to use prepared remarks nor the first to use a teleprompter.