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President Obama’s “off-script” SOTU rejoinder began with a scripted pause

SORRY FOLKS. If you think President Obama went “Off Script” at tonight’s State of the Union Address, ask yourself why he punctuated “I have no more campaigns to run” with a HANDS-CLASPED PAUSE. In the context of his prepared remarks, that sentence was a lead-in, not a paragraph unto itself. Watch it againt and you’ll see that Obama’s pause was a trap to goad opponents to applaud so that he could “ad-lib” his crowd-pleasing “I know because I won both of them.” Prescripted mishaps are common devices to garner sympathy for embattled performers. Given that White House speechwriters anticipated a hostile reception, you’d think they would otherwise avoid lines that fed the antipathy, especially a throw-away line of exposition. Both setup and punchline added no substance to Obama’s remarks, except to grandstand.

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