WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama had just started a spirited defense of his economic stimulus plan on Monday when one of his teleprompter screens came loose, crashed to the floor and shattered into pieces.
The gadget's fall surprised Obama, who uses a teleprompter during most speeches and even brief remarks. The glass plate displaying his speech hit the floor in the auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a massive building within the White House compound.
"Oh, goodness," Obama said. "Sorry about that, guys."
The audience -- administration officials, mayors and urban policy experts -- laughed as Obama went back to his text. To finish his 11-minute remarks calling for a new policy toward the nation's cities and metropolitan areas, he used notes and the remaining teleprompter screen.
Obama has been criticized for relying too heavily on his teleprompter for routine remarks and the device has become jokingly known as "TOTUS."
Vice President Joe Biden recently suffered a similar mishap while delivering a speech in Colorado Springs, when a gust of wind blew one of the teleprompters he was using over.
Biden was acknowledging the thin air of the Colorado Mountains that United States Air Force cadets have to adapt and train in, when a loud crash was heard. He quickly ad-libbed that the air was not only thin but windy as well. His next remarks explained the noise.
"What am I gonna tell the President when I tell him his teleprompter is broken? What will he do then?" Biden said to audience laughter.
Luckily for Biden, one teleprompter was still standing and the mishap was near the end of his remarks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.