On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that they were surprised by the applause at theOh really? Then why was [APPLAUSE] printed on the Jumbotron?
memorialpep rally on Wednesday for the victims of the Tucson shootings.
(1) The word "school" indicates that [APPLAUSE] was used to describe the reaction to a sentence that had just been transcribed. My best guess is that the moment captured above occurred just after the president delivered this line:Judge John Roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years. (Applause.) A graduate of this university and a graduate of this law school -- (applause)
(2) If the White House actually wanted to prompt applause, they would probably have used large, bold font to attract people's attention.
(3) There were thousands of attendees at the speech -- many of whom, presumably, were Republicans. If the White House had really done something as indescribably tacky as employing TV sitcom-style applause signs during a memorial service, we probably would have heard a lot more about it by now.
It’s hard to imagine that the university inserted the “[APPLAUSE]” tags that went with the captioning on the Jumbotron on their own. How would the organizers know which lines were intended for applause space? That had to come from the speech provided to the organizers by the White House for the purpose of displaying the captioning, and obviously Obama gives the final approval on his speeches, as do all Presidents. The White House may not have intended for those tags to appear on the screen (they could have been intended as stage directions for Obama, which would still be a little crass), but if not, they shouldn’t have had them in the speech in the first place.
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