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Rick Santorum will memorize all the speeches written for him

Mar 12, 2012

Teleprompters have become a stand-in for President Obama. Countless Republicans have pointed to his use of the projectors as evidence that he’s cold and removed from the American people, that he’s simply reading a speech and waving his hands. Surprisingly successful presidential candidate Rick Santorum too has jumped on that bandwagon, and even recently began attacking chief rival Mitt Romney for relying on the devices, CNN reports.

Santorum’s teleprompter attacks have largely gone under the radar, but his latest remarks are so strange that they can’t escape notice: Santorum suggested it should be illegal to use a teleprompter during presidential races.

“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,” Santorum said in Mississippi. “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.”

Santorum obviously hopes voters, upon hearing the simple word “teleprompter,” will be tricked into not thinking about his actual words. Forget the near impossibility of such a frivolous law; Santorum wants voters to instantly think that he’s the only true and honest candidate, a candidate who speaks from the heart, politics be damned. He’s a mere mortal, a man fighting a machine. And perhaps for a moment that was partially true. Back before the Iowa caucuses, Santorum’s campaign was mostly just him in a truck, zigzagging across the state. But even then he had strong advisors helping pull the strings: campaign manager Mike Biundo is a veteran political advisor who worked on Pat Buchanan’s 1992 and 1996 presidential races, among others, while Santorum and communications manager Hogan Gidley once headed Mike Huckabee’s media machine. And, yes, Santorum has a speechwriter. His name is Seth Leibsohn. He’s been helping Santorum since even before he officially announced his candidacy.

Trying to explain his 2001 Senate vote for No Child Left Behind, Santorum said last month he was simply going along with his Republican colleagues because “politics is a team sport.” So too are campaigns, including Santorum’s. Instead of admitting this truth, though, Santorum works around it to deliver a silly political attack, one that sounds as outlandish as many of his other comments, like that Obama is a snob for wanting Americans to attend some college or that JFK’s seminal church and state speech makes him want to puke.

Hell, maybe Santorum is preparing his own remarks, or maybe he should be.

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