Pawlenty repeats false tale about Obama teleprompter

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 19, 2010 

Everyone knows that President Barack Obama relies on a teleprompter a lot when giving talks. He even used one to talk to a dozen members of his own Middle Class Task Force a few weeks ago.

But Obama critics are seizing on one of the times he did NOT use the device to ridicule him.

The latest was Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a possible candidate for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.

"President Obama was in a grade school classroom speaking to elementary school children and he was using a teleprompter," Pawlenty said Friday in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

"You've got to be kidding me," he added. "That's not a joke. That's a real story."

Actually, it's not. The tale spread by bloggers over the Internet and in some media, including Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, blended together two Obama appearances Jan. 19 at the Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia, to make it appear he used the teleprompter when speaking to a classroom of 30 pupils.

In reality, Obama sat on a chair and spoke with the pupils without the device.

In a different classroom, he used the teleprompter to give scripted remarks on education to television cameras.

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