Sunday, May 8, 2011

President Obama Hires Teleprompter Coach

Washington DC, May 8, 2011. On top of the more than half a million dollars it spends on speechwriters, the White House is using tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a public relations firm headed by Democratic image maker Michael Sheehan.

Sheehan was once dubbed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as an “extraordinary media coach” who helped her master the teleprompter.

President Barack Hussein Obama, D-Kenya, wants to become a better teleprompter speaker.

Mr. Sheehan’s firm, Sheehan Associates, could receive more than $100,000 under a current contract and has been providing occasional speech and consulting services to the White House since 2009, federal purchasing records show.

Although Mr. Sheehan has a reputation of helping politicians look good speaking in public, neither his firm nor its White House client has anything to say about the contracting arrangement. Sheehan Associates failed to respond to telephone and email inquiries about the hiring arrangement this week and last, as did the White House press office.

Michael Sheehan
Spending records show that the company was hired under three contracts since late 2009 and has received a total of $60,000. The records variously describe the company as providing “speech preparation training,” “speech writing services” and “speech coaching services.”

It’s unclear what speeches the firm was assigned, but its hiring marks the second time that the White House has paid for outside public relations help. It approved contract work for up to $100,000 for Jeff Nussbaum, a speechwriting aide to vice-presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden during the 2008 election campaign, The Washington Times reported last year.

When they first took office, both President Obama and Vice President Biden pledged to end abuse of no-bid contracting and require competitive bidding on nearly all contract orders for more than $25,000.

This contract is direct violation of President Obama's campaign pledge. There were no competitive bids, even though the cost is above the threshold he set. The White House excuse is that "no other firm had the expertise to teach President Obama how to sound sincere when reading a script."

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