If there is one reliable source of applause to be found along the Republican primary trail this year, it is ignited by candidates who boast of being able to speak without a Teleprompter.
The speech delivery device used by presidents, candidates, dinner emcees and, yes, television news anchors, has become an object of extended mockery wherever Republican politics is practiced. (Full disclosure: I use them on almost a daily basis. I love them.)
This does not mean that the GOP candidates do not use Teleprompters. They do, although sparingly. Still, the use of these devices has morphed into another of the endless series of codes which have come to define the 2012 Republican primary campaign.
In this case, as in so many others, it is an authenticity test. President Obama, for frankly mysterious reasons, has acquired a reputation in some circles as a man incapable of delivering a speech without a mechanical crutch. The mystery is that I can't recall a president in the modern age who has delivered any major speech off the cuff. Smooth, fluid delivery has become the coin of the realm in the television age.