In his latest appearances, President Obama has left behind a trusted friend: his teleprompter. The speechmaking tool has been absent during speeches in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, and the change is clear as the president refers to written notes rather than gazing left and right, writes Amie Parnes at the Hill. The result, according to an administration insider: Obama speaks "more extemporaneously." The shift has "less to do with image and more to do with upping the tempo," the official says.
The teleprompter "made him seem unconfident and robotic in dealing with real people out there," says a communications expert. A former George W. Bush deputy press secretary applauds the move, noting that Obama is a "much better public speaker" than Mitt Romney. The move is also aimed at sparking a little more improvisation, and it seems to be working: Spontaneous moments are becoming more common on the trail. Still, expect the teleprompter to return during major speeches.