Posted by Brad @ 3:14 pm on September 2nd 2010

Cringe-Inducing Video of the Day

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer participated in her first reelection debate last night (she gained office when Napolitano resigned to join the Obama administration).

It did not go well.

Here she is in her first introduction to Arizona voters as a candidate. In which she, right off the bat, forgets the entirety of her opening remarks.

Ah, the perils of public speaking.

I’d be inclined to feel bad for her, but she’s kind of a bitch.


  1. Isn’t it the industry standard to permit the candidates the use of a teleprompter for prepared remarks in TV debates? Is it possible that what we’re dealing with here is a tech issue?

    Comment by Rojas — 9/2/2010 @ 3:52 pm

  2. I honestly don’t know, although that just looks like a local TV station to me.

    Comment by Brad — 9/2/2010 @ 3:58 pm

  3. Well, yes, that’s a given. But frankly it’s been quite some time since I’ve been aware of a politician at ANY level that’s been asked to commit even a sixty-second statement to memory for debate purposes…as far as I’m aware teleprompters are completely ubiquitous for the purpose.

    It is possible, I suppose, that I’m wrong about that. But if Jan Brewer went in there expecting the opportunity to read her statement off the prompter and it failed, that would certainly explain what we’re seeing here.

    The ability to actually construct an effective statement of principles off the cuff is exceedingly rare, and not much less so among politicians than among actual human beings (this is part of made Bill Clinton so impressive; he could do this sort of thing all day without benefit of any kind of notes). And I can live with that fact; the ability to write speeches is a very distinct skill from those related to effective governance.

    Comment by Rojas — 9/2/2010 @ 4:08 pm

  4. Are you just assuming that (the ubiquity of teleprompters in state-level debates), or do you actually know that? I have no idea either way, nor would it surprise me either way, honestly. But I’m just curious if you actually know that about local races or are just kind of guessing that surely that’s the case.

    By the by, I didn’t write the post as a “Jan Brewer is so stoopid!” thing, but as a “cringe-inducing example of public speaking gone wrong” thing. I cast no aspersions on her ability to govern or general intelligence, save the kind of a bitch part. :)

    Comment by Brad — 9/2/2010 @ 4:12 pm

  5. Of course, if I DID want to cast aspersions…

    Comment by Brad — 9/2/2010 @ 4:17 pm

  6. For the record, if her teleprompter failed, I would have expected that the venue would have immediately said so.

    This guy sums up how I always assumed they worked.

    It all began with Brewer’s opening statement, which should be the easiest part of any debate. Most statements are carefully written and memorized ahead time as it the candidates chance to get their message out uninterrupted. Governor Brewer, however, seems to have forgotten her lines. After creating a full ten second of awkward silence on live television, Governor Brewer laughs and continues with her statement about fighting the Obama administration.

    Actually, now that I think of it, I think you’re probably wrong. Most opening statements are just a few minutes, and even in the national debates are given from memory as far as I’m aware, such that there is constant speculation (in the case of Obama and Palin) as to whether or not they will try to use a teleprompter (or ear piece, in the case of Bush). In all cases though, the denials were that no teleprompters were used (and the debates are often cited as evidence that Obama CAN speak just fine without a teleprompter).

    We’ve both watched a lot of debates, and I’m recalling the opening statements I can, and they all seem memorized, or mostly memorized) with notecards and such at the podium) to me. I’m trying to google around to find out if, as a matter of course, teleprompters are regularly used in political debates, and I’ve found nothing to that effect. I think you’re wrong though.

    Comment by Brad — 9/2/2010 @ 4:25 pm

  7. Although Senator Bunning apparently copped to using one, although he participated in the debate in question remotely via satellite. The Presidential Commission on Debates did not let Obama use a teleprompter in at least the first debate (and put out a statement to that effect), although the moderators had one. The last VA Attorney General debate did not use a teleprompter

    Also, these deaf people assure me that there was no teleprompter in the debate.

    In any case, apparently googling “teleprompter” is now almost exclusively a right-wing activity. I feel dirty trying to wade through the links.

    Comment by Brad — 9/2/2010 @ 4:37 pm

  8. Wait just a second, I thought teleprompters were the evil crutches of communism?

    Comment by Dingle — 9/2/2010 @ 5:36 pm

  9. Clear enough, then. She blanked out.

    Kind of odd that the ability to memorize and recite a series of talking points is now considered to be “debate”, I suppose, but no odder than the idea that reciting them off a teleprompter would be.

    Comment by Rojas — 9/2/2010 @ 6:44 pm

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