Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has often criticized President Barack Obama for always having to use a teleprompter. Lately, his criticism has turned towards fellow candidate Mitt Romney who has used a teleprompter in several of his public appearances of late.
Over the weekend, Santorum went even further with his teleprompter criticism by saying that they should be illegal for politicians to use while campaigning. He argues that by using the teleprompter, the politician is reading what someone else wrote and that it’s not them speaking for themselves. Speaking to a crowd in Mississippi, Santorum said,
“See, I always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter. Because all you’re doing is reading someone else’s words to people.
“You’re voting for someone who is going to be the leader of our government. It’s important for you to understand who that person is in their own words, see them, look them in the eye…hear what’s (in their) heart.
“You’re choosing a leader. A leader isn’t just about what’s written on a piece of paper.”
I whole heartedly agree with Santorum’s argument and have actually expressed it to others in the past. In response to my comments, I’ve had numerous people tell me that it’s no different than standing at a podium reading the speech that a hired speech writer wrote. My response to that is the same as using a teleprompter.
I’ve often believed that a politician needs to be able to speak for themselves. If they can’t talk to their constituents without reading the words written by someone else, then I have no desire to have them represent me in whatever office they are running for. If a politician can’t look me in the eye when they’re speaking to me, I’m not interested in hearing what they have to say. If a politician can’t think for themselves, then I don’t want them in office.