Presidents have been using teleprompters for more than half a century, but none have relied on them as extensively as Mr. Obama has so far. While presidents typically have used them for their most important speeches -- an inaugural, State of the Union or Oval Office address -- Mr. Obama uses them for routine announcements and even for the opening statement of his only news conference so far.
He used them during a visit to a Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Ill. He used them to make brief remarks opening his "fiscal responsibility summit." He used them to discuss endangered species, even recalling a visit to national parks as an 11-year-old. "That was an experience I will never forget," he said, reading from the teleprompter.
For Mr. Obama, a teleprompter means message discipline, sticking close to the intended words. While some presidents prefer extemporizing, Mr. Obama likes the message to be just so. After all, he is a best-selling author who has helped write a lot of his major speeches, so he presumably feels a certain fidelity to the crafted text.