Who Took Barack Obama’s TelePrompTer Hostage?

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A teleprompter displays the last lines of a speech by US President Barack Obama, after he spoke on the economy and toured Alcoa Davenport Works Factory in Bettendorf, Iowa, on June 28, 2011.      AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A teleprompter displays the last lines of a speech by US President Barack Obama, after he spoke on the economy and toured Alcoa Davenport Works Factory in Bettendorf, Iowa, on June 28, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: SAUL LOEB/2011 AFP

Barack Obama is apparently very attached to his TelePrompTer. This is, after all, a man who made his name making speeches, and so it makes sense that he wants to get the words just right. But he's so attached that it's got a nickname: TOTUS, or TelePrompTer of the United States (or, as totus appropriately enough means in the Latin, everything.) A sporadically updated TOTUS blog even exists.

The president sometimes takes a personal TelePrompTer on the road, as he did this week during a tour of Virginia and North Carolina. His attachment proved problematic this week, though, when someone stole a truck holding the TelePrompTer, along with his sound system and various presidential seals (here we're picturing peel and stick decals?) in Chesterfield, Virginia, to the tune of $200,000 worth of goods. The truck was returned late Monday, and supposedly no classified information was aboard. Authorities are still investigating who was responsible.

This isn't the first time TOTUS has come under attack. Earlier this year, Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas proposed a line-item budget reduction that would have removed funding specifically for TOTUS. This is obviously a man with a very specific axe to grind, and that makes him the top suspect. Where was Womack at the time of the crime?

But it's never the clear suspect, and so we're inclined to rule out Womack. The motive is so obvious. (Actually, nope, it's never been obvious, but the animus is!) Besides, this seems like an inside job. Who would have both the access and the motivation?

And then it hit us. Who might be jealous of such a well-spoken — one might even say articulate — guy? What gaffe-machine might be constantly living in Obama's perfectly parsed shadow, growing ever more jealous? What kind of seemingly button-up man might get a secret kick out of grand theft auto?

Can you account for your recent whereabouts, Joseph Robinette Biden?!

Obama’s Teleprompter Stolen [The Slatest]
Teleprompter used by Barack Obama stolen, recovered [Christian Science Monitor]