Barack Obama’s Speechwriters

A profile of Barack Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, 26, from a January ’08 edition of The New York Times:

“The trick of speechwriting, if you will, is making the client say your brilliant words while somehow managing to make it sound as though they issued straight from their own soul,” said the writer Christopher Buckley, who was a speechwriter for the first President Bush. “Imagine putting the words ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’ into the mouth of Ron Paul, and you can see the problem.”

Newsweek’s profile of Favreau (again from January ’08) is also worth a browse.

“What is your theory of speechwriting?” Obama asked.

“I have no theory,” admitted Favreau. “But when I saw you at the convention, you basically told a story about your life from beginning to end, and it was a story that fit with the larger American narrative. People applauded not because you wrote an applause line but because you touched something in the party and the country that people had not touched before. Democrats haven’t had that in a long time.”

Now, with Obama announcing Favreau as the White House’s Director of Speechwriting, Esquire looks at his influences.