Friday, August 29, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro's teleprompter wars

The op-ed page in today's New York Times includes short pieces by former Democratic candidates for president or vice-president detailing memories of conventions past. Geraldine Ferraro's details her battle with the teleprompter in preparing her acceptance speech. The problem? She overestimated her skills and underestimated the task. She started with a good goal, checking the venue:
I wanted to scope out the arena, to test the height of the lectern (I’m 5 feet 4 inches tall and needed to be seen above it) and, of course, to practice with the teleprompter.

As a third-term member of Congress from Queens, I had never had the need nor the opportunity to use a teleprompter. It certainly looked easy. I had watched Ronald Reagan and if he could do it, I could do it too.
The rest of the piece gives everyone a good lesson in teleprompter tricks,and a reminder to allow plenty of time to prep, even when you don't think you need to...or especially then.

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