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What Sent Actress Kim Delaney Off Script At Liberty Medal Ceremony

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Following a series of apparent backstage production problems at the  Liberty Medal award presentation at the National Constitution Center on Thursday evening, actress and Philadelphia native Kim Delaney seemed to make a valiant attempt to rescue the production by going on stage without introduction or teleprompter, but then delivering a stumbling speech.

An offstage announcer may have skipped over a section of his script when off stage whispering could be heard and the announcer suddenly said, "Kim Delaney..."

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Delaney, best known for her roles on "NYPD Blue" and currently "Army Wives," went on stage in an apparent effort to give her introductory speech for the award that was presented to former US defense secretary Robert Gates (see related story).

KYW Newsradio reports according to those in attendance, it appeared her teleprompter was not working, and Delaney appeared to struggle to deliver her speech, making long and awkward pauses between sentences.

"As I try to comfort wives, husbands, families, fathers, children, loved ones, made good, what I've learned is the Constitution Center," Delaney said at one point during the speech.

Delaney then went on to talk about her character's role on Lifetime's "Army Wives." Delaney talked about how the show portrays the lives of those with family members in the military.

At that point in the speech, Delaney displayed a brief smile before a video began on a loudspeaker and an individual with the production came to the podium to escort Delaney off stage.

Bloggers and talk radio shows around the country picked up on Delaney's fractured performance, some attributing it to substance abuse or lack of preparation.

CBS 3, attributing sources, reports that some of the events producers may have questioned Delaney's ability to deliver the speech prior to her appearance.

Calls to the Constitution Center, the production company, and Delaney's publicist seeking more information about the production problems that led to Delaney's bumpy performance have not been returned.

According to the National Constitution Center's web site, the Liberty Medal is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who have strived to secure the blessings of liberty to people the world over. Past recipients include Nelson Mandela, Sandra Day O'Connor, Colin Powell, and U2's Bono.

Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060

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