Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was just a few paragraphs into an address in Washington when he realised it all sounded a bit too familiar.
It was. He was repeating the speech President Barack Obama had just read from the same teleprompter.
Mr Cowen stopped, turned to the president and said: “That’s your speech.”
A laughing Mr Obama returned to the podium to take over but it seems the script had finally been switched and the US president ended up thanking himself for inviting everyone to the party.
Mr Obama is an accomplished orator but is becoming known in America as the “teleprompt president” over his reliance on the machine when he gives a speech.
By David Byers
“We begin by welcoming today a strong friend of the United States,” he began and continued in that vein for about 20 seconds before – realising he was experiencing more than the usual case of déjà vu – he looked back at the US President and said: “That’s your speech!”
Mr Obama returned to the podium, the script was belatedly switched over to the Taoiseach’s text – leaving Mr Obama inadvertently thanking himself for inviting everyone, to further laughter. “First, I’d like to say thank you to President Obama!” the President said.
Although used for more than half a century, the device was previously employed mainly for set-piece speeches. The current President, however, often uses them for making small introductory statements at the beginning of press conferences.
By Helen Pidd and agencies
Cowen was around 20 seconds into the wrong speech before he realised his gaffe. He stopped suddenly and looked back at the president to say: “That’s your speech.”
Obama is becoming known as the “teleprompter president” for his reliance on the prompting screens,
Although used for more than half a century, the device was previously employed mainly for set-piece speeches. The current president, however, often uses them for making small introductory statements at the beginning of press conferences.