From where the press sits inside the Pepsi Center, here at the Democratic Convention, reporters have a clear view of a teleprompter facing the speaker from across the hall. Watching it gets addictive, keeping track of when the speaker wanders off-script, misses a word, or gets thrown off by applause not accounted for in the text.
Following the teleprompter also makes the speech itself sound tinny and disjointed. The smaller screen only carries a couple of lines, making speeches seem like an endless series of Twitter posts by Democratic speechwriters—crowd pleasers strung together by hurried points on policy.
To simulate that effect, here is Hillary Clinton’s speech from last night , chopped down to just the major applause lines. Judge for yourself: Is the final effect all that different?
"Thank you all very much. I am so honored to be here tonight. I'm here tonight as a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
"And whether you voted for me or you voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. [Y]ou haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months or endured the last eight years to suffer through more failed leadership. No way, no how, no McCain. Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.
"You taught me so much, and you made me laugh, and, yes, you even made me cry. To my supporters, to my champions, to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
"I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years. Those are the reasons I ran for president, and those are the reasons I support Barack Obama for president.
"[Obama] built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And Barack will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. And Americans are fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama's side.
"[I]t makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.
"And after so many decades, 88 years ago on this very day, the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, became enshrined in our Constitution. And, remember, before we can keep going, we've got to get going by electing Barack Obama the next president of the United States. Thank you. God bless you, and Godspeed."