Criticism of the president for his reliance on Teleprompters has generally been confined to Republican circles, though the president himself joined in on the fun during the his 2009 speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Vice President Biden has joked about it as well.
Yesterday, however, a former leading Democratic politician blamed those Teleprompters for the president’s struggles to connect with voters as of late.
On CNN’s Situation Room, former Vice President Walter Mondale was asked by Wolf Blitzer what the president needs to do to avoid having the same one-term fate as Mondale’s former boss, former President Jimmy Carter.
“He's got to connect with the American people,” Mondale said.”The American people have to feel that the president senses and -- the suffering they're going through and wants to be a part of the solution. He's got a lot of strength, but that connectivity, that ability to transmit the fact that he feels for people, I think, is something he needs to work on. I notice he's doing more of these backyard events where he gets in close with a small group of people. I think that's part of what he should do.”
Mondale continued: “he's very bright. Matter of fact, brilliant. And I think he tends to -- and he uses these idiot boards to read speeches in television, and I think he loses the connection that he needs emotionally with American voters….If you're looking at the teleprompter, you're here, you're here, you're here. And you're -- your audience is right there. And I think he needs to do more of that.”
It may be worth noting that Mondale lost the 1984 presidential election 60%-40%; President Ronald Reagan won 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 13 – the former VP won only DC and his home state of Minnesota. After the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., Mondale ran for the Senate in 2002 and lost to St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, making Mondale the only major party figure to lose a statewide election in every single state in the nation. In the 2008 Democratic primaries, Mondale endorsed then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.