January 4, 1999 |
John Bird, 88, who worked as a speechwriter for Dwight D. Eisenhower and as a senior editor of the Saturday Evening Post, died Wednesday of bladder and lung cancer at his daughter's home in McLean, Va. He had lived in the Philadelphia area for many years. Mr. Bird, who was born in Hays, Kan., received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kansas State University in 1932. He first went to Washington in 1933 as senior secretary to U.S. Rep. Kathryn O'Loughlin McCarthy (D., Kan.)
February 11, 1986 |
The State of the Union address did not carry a line of credits to Bently T. Elliot and all the guys at the White House. It will go down in history as the words of the Great Communicator, not the Great Communicator's speechwriters. There is no surprise in this, no cause for scandal or even a lifted eyebrow. It is not just the actor-politician who says what others have written. Few of our leaders write their own words these days or these decades. The ghostwriter was surely a shadowy figure when the word first appeared in the 1880s - someone who "unknown to the public does literary or artistic work for which another gets all the credit and most of the cash.
February 1, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Facing what political observers say could be a key moment in his reelection bid, Gov. Corbett has hired the man who crafted some of President George W. Bush's most memorable remarks to help write the budget address he will deliver Tuesday. Despite a stable of speechwriters in the Governor's Office, Corbett's campaign will pay John P. McConnell to fine-tune the presentation, the closest thing in Pennsylvania politics to a State of the Union address. The governor's campaign confirmed Thursday that it would pick up the tab but declined to say how much it would pay McConnell, author or coauthor of Bush's 2005 inaugural speech, four State of the Union addresses, and other public statements.
August 31, 2012
YOU EVER HEAR of the Judson Welliver Society? It's one of the most exclusive social clubs in the world, composed exclusively of former presidential speechwriters. It's named after Judson C. Welliver, President Warren Harding's "literary clerk," credited with being the first presidential speechwriter. Thursday night was GOP Republican nominee Mitt Romney's last, best chance to introduce (or reintroduce) himself to the American people, whom he is asking for a job. He won't get an audience that large again until he debates President Obama.
March 5, 1987 |
When the strategy sessions began last week on the address President Reagan gave last night, a key figure was a man some call "Nancy Reagan's favorite speechwriter. " He is Landon Parvin, 38, who was on the White House staff as a speechwriter during Reagan's first term. In 1985, when he opened his own business as a communications consultant, one of his first customers was the First Lady. That's not surprising, considering that many gave Parvin the credit for snatching Nancy Reagan out of the jaws of a public outcry in 1981, when she was new to the White House.
September 20, 1987 |
Late one night in the midst of Robert Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign, chief speechwriter Adam Walinsky tossed away the last volume of collected quotations and shook his head. "Somewhere," he said to his junior partner, "there has to be some line from somebody about how the battle for freedom is what produces freedom. " A few minutes later, his junior partner - your obedient servant - triumphantly produced a piece of paper on which was typed this deathless sentence: "As the poet said, 'Men forge their freedom only in the struggle to be free.
October 4, 1987 |
Well, sure, there's been talk about reviving my presidential candidacy. I won't deny it. After all, the other guys are dropping like flies. It's more and more likely that the convention is going to turn to someone who's been standing, in a dignified way, on the sidelines. So there's talk, there's talk. Just the other day, for instance, my wife said, "You can't be serious!" So, sure, there's talk. Under the circumstances, I thought it would be unwise for me to say anything for the record concerning Joe Biden's quick trip down the tubes - although it's also true that nobody asked.
August 20, 1988 |
The first time she met with Vice President Bush, he had his feet up on a coffee table and looked very laid back. "A comma in an easy chair," Peggy Noonan jotted in her notebook. That description, which Noonan recalled in a column she wrote for the Los Angeles Times in June, reveals as much about Noonan's keen eye, easy wit and poetic Irish soul as it does about Bush's off-camera style. President Reagan knew it, and George Bush appreciates it, too. Peggy Noonan has an appreciation for the subtleties of language, a gift for cadence, a knack for imagery.
November 25, 2000 |
The death toll in America's bitterly contested election has so far been exactly zero, an encouraging contrast to recent experience in some less fortunate nations. I worry, though. The Clinton and Gore haters are dreadfully overwrought about the impending "theft" of this election. Peggy Noonan, the blond Bush and Reagan speechwriter who's adorable when she's not hysterical, has worked herself into a state of beastly dementia in the pages of the The Wall Street Journal. I'm terribly concerned she'll fall over and hurt herself.
February 25, 1996 |
When Patrick J. Buchanan didn't seem to have a prayer of landing the Republican nomination, his politics were shrugged off by many people as those of a guy on the fringe. But Buchanan is the hot candidate now - the winner in New Hampshire and the Republican defining his party's campaign. And the questions arise: To what degree is he a racist? An anti-Semite? A sexist? A homophobe? His acquaintances and writings paint a picture of a man who is not hostile in his personal behavior - but a master of hostile politics.