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A Perfectly Functioning Teleprompter

A PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING TELEPROMPTER.... Watching Sarah Palin's speech last night, I made a note: "Not bad with the teleprompter. Obviously reading, but better than McCain." It takes speakers a little while to get used to teleprompters, and it looked like Palin's extensive practice paid off.

But that, apparently, isn't the story. Erick Erickson, a Republican blogger, citing "sources close to the McCain campaign," insisted this morning that Palin's teleprompter suffered a "malfunction," and she "winged" much of her speech "from memory." Erickson used the anecdote to label Palin a "winner."

I initially thought Erickson was kidding. Anyone watching the speech could see her reading the text from start to finish. She would interject the occasional off-script line, as speakers often do, but she wasn't "winging" anything. That seemed rather obvious.

But Erickson wasn't kidding. Other Republican blogs began heralding Palin's feat, Drudge is running with it, and Fox News is talking about it.

The claim simply isn't true.

Sarah Palin delivered a powerful speech last night, but she did not "wing it." ... This claim has been picked up on Drudge and could quickly enter into the insta-mythmaking about a speech that need not be embroidered.Perhaps there were moments where it scrolled slightly past her exact point in the speech. But I was sitting in the press section next to the stage, within easy eyeshot of the teleprompter. I frequently looked up at the machine, and there was no serious malfunction. A top convention-planner confirms this morning that there were no major problems.

I wonder, though, why the right would run with this silly claim so enthusiastically. Did they not think the speech was successful enough on its own? They needed to add a little mythical flair to make it a real triumph?