Obama Recovering After Closed Captioning 'Mishap'

Bethesda, Md. — Doctors were said to be treating President Barack Obama at Bethesda Naval Hospital today for exhaustion and possible vocal cord injuries after a freak television accident occurred at the White House Tuesday evening.

According to a statement read by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, President Obama, noted for his near total dependence on the teleprompter when speaking, was leaving a practice session for an upcoming press conference when he happened upon a muted television set near the White House Briefing Room on which someone had activated the “closed captioning” function.

“Apparently, Mr. Obama mistook the captioning for his new flat screen teleprompter and began reading the text aloud,” Gibbs said. Gibbs stated that “what followed was a tragic marathon speaking session that lasted for nearly 14 hours before staff discovered Obama and disconnected the device.”

The President’s accidental filibuster was said to have included a 2-hour episode of “The Biggest Loser,” a much anticipated “Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit,” the local evening news, and a late night paid infomercial for “natural male enhancement.” The press later described Obama’s reading of the captioning as “eloquent” (New York Times), “historic” (CNN), and “emotionally moving” (Newsweek).

This event comes on the heels of several embarrassing teleprompter gaffes by Obama, including one in which he thanked himself for being invited to the United States when he accidentally read the teleprompter text intended for the visiting Prime Minister of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, his repeated mispronunciation of the written word “Orion” at an event for Orion Energy in Milwaukee (staff had apparently neglected to spell it phonetically on his teleprompter), a little reported campaign event in which Obama’s thoughts disappeared with his flickering teleprompter image, and a news conference in which Obama responded to complaints about his addiction to the teleprompter blocking the view of photographers by having a giant flat screen TV installed on the back wall and reading his thoughts from that.

When asked for an explanation of how such an event could occur to the President of the United States, Gibbs responded, “That’s a good question. We’re investigating now. How anyone could leave the closed captioning on like that is just inexplicable. The White House staff should know better by now.”

A source at Bethesda Naval Hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the President was doing fine, but was “quite hoarse” and getting some much needed rest ever since doctors turned the screen on his heart monitor around so that he couldn’t read it anymore. “Before that he just kept saying ‘Heart rate 98, Heart rate 97, Heart rate 98…’” the source said, adding, “It was kind of weird, but since we removed that he’s been OK. Although I’d hate to see what would happen to this guy if someone accidentally left him alone in the room with the crawler on the Fox News Channel."

Another source at the hospital commented that Obama’s dependence on the teleprompter was predictable given his earlier self-admitted addiction to his Blackberry, or “Crackberry,” as it is popularly known. “Those Blackberrys are like a gateway drug,” the source said. He added, “First you’re getting your jokes and ideas from that apparently harmless little toy, and the next thing you know, you can’t even speak like an adult unless someone feeds you your thoughts word for word on a giant television monitor hung right in front of your face. It’s sad — just sad.”

“Oh, and Happy April Fools’ Day.”

Cartoon by Brett Noel.