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NEWS
October 26, 2011 | By Alexa Vaughn
A former speechwriter for the real president of the United States, Barack Obama, is now writing for a fictional president central to a sitcom pilot called "1600 Penn," which NBC committed to developing this week. The show will focus on the comedic pitfalls of a dysfunctional family at the White House, but writer Jon Lovett has not revealed where he will get inspiration for his cast of characters. Since leaving the administration in early summer to pursue a career in Hollywood, Lovett teamed up with ABC's "Modern Family" director Jason Winer and Broadway hit "Book of Mormon" star Josh Gad to produce the show centered around a dysfunctional family.
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NEWS
March 19, 2013 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- One of Ben Rhodes' first tasks when he followed Barack Obama to the White House in 2009 was to help craft the presidential speech, delivered in Cairo, that urged a restart of Mideast peace talks, called America's alliance with Israel “unbreakable” and described Palestinian statelessness as “intolerable.” Four years and a stillborn peace attempt later, Rhodes accompanies the president to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this...
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NATIONAL
February 5, 2013 | By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Jon Favreau's career took off when, at age 23, he interrupted U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama during a speech rehearsal to offer some suggestions for improvement. That cheeky move led to a seven-year tour as Obama's lead speechwriter, an assignment that ends March 1 as Favreau considers trying his hand at another form of drama - as a screenwriter, perhaps in Los Angeles. The departure subtracts a vivid personality from the president's operation, defined since the beginning by Obama's spoken words and the team that wrote them.
NEWS
February 24, 2013 | By Christi Parsons
Tommy Vietor was the first youthful convert to pack his bags, leave home and sign on to the Barack Obama campaign, joining the Chicago operation before his boss, then running for the Senate, had even given the convention speech by which the rest of Democratic America would discover him. He rose from driver of a press van across rural Illinois to fixture of the White House situation room. Now, the 32-year-old is contemplating something new -- a future not working for Obama. Amid the high-level departures and appointments of Obama's second term, a quieter changing of the guard is taking place farther down the food chain.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 2004 | Claudia Luther, Times Staff Writer
Lucien C. Haas, an influential aide and speechwriter to Democratic politicians for more than 20 years, died in his sleep Tuesday at his home in Pacific Palisades. He was 86. Haas was a spokesman for Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) for 13 years, an associate press secretary to Gov. Pat Brown and a speechwriter for his son, Gov. Jerry Brown.
NEWS
February 24, 2013 | By Christi Parsons
Tommy Vietor was the first youthful convert to pack his bags, leave home and sign on to the Barack Obama campaign, joining the Chicago operation before his boss, then running for the Senate, had even given the convention speech by which the rest of Democratic America would discover him. He rose from driver of a press van across rural Illinois to fixture of the White House situation room. Now, the 32-year-old is contemplating something new -- a future not working for Obama. Amid the high-level departures and appointments of Obama's second term, a quieter changing of the guard is taking place farther down the food chain.
NEWS
February 12, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Morgan Little and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- The spotlight may be on President Obama tonight as he delivers the first State of the Union address of his second term, but his remarks mark the culmination of countless laborious hours spent fine-tuning his every word. With former head speechwriter Jon Favreau having left the White House after spending seven years with Obama, Tuesday night's address marks new chief speechwriter Cody Keenan's first time leading the pivotal yearly address. Administration officials have said that Obama's speech will include a call for "common ground," between Republicans and Democrats though the speech maintains Obama's second-term proclivity toward using political pressure to keep Republicans in line with White House policy.
NATIONAL
October 15, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Author and humorist Christopher Buckley resigned from the National Review, a conservative magazine founded by his father, after readers complained about his endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in an online publication. Buckley, son of the late William F. Buckley, made the endorsement on thedailybeast .com. He has worked as a speechwriter for Republican presidential nominee John McCain and President George H.W. Bush.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 22, 2002
Matthew Lyon, 45, an assistant vice chancellor for public affairs at UC Berkeley, died Saturday while working out at a fitness center in Seattle. Lyon, an avid supporter of the UC Berkeley basketball team, had accompanied the players to Seattle for a game with the University of Washington. He joined UC Berkeley in January 1999 to lead the Office of Public Affairs, which includes media and government relations. Born in Willimantic, Conn., Lyon graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in American studies.
OPINION
August 4, 2004
I found Clark S. Judge's column ("Sen. Kerry, It's French for Kiss Off," Opinion, Aug. 1) to be a pathetic piece of propaganda that sets France up as a straw man. I watched Sen. John Kerry's acceptance speech and he never once mentioned France. Judge neglects to mention that fact in his column. The war in Iraq is not about France; it is about an incompetent administration that chose not to thoughtfully and carefully analyze options before committing lives and money to a misguided war. I would be interested in seeing a piece by Judge in which he describes the history, policies and practices of one of the Bush administration's favorite allies, Saudi Arabia.
NEWS
February 12, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Morgan Little and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- The spotlight may be on President Obama tonight as he delivers the first State of the Union address of his second term, but his remarks mark the culmination of countless laborious hours spent fine-tuning his every word. With former head speechwriter Jon Favreau having left the White House after spending seven years with Obama, Tuesday night's address marks new chief speechwriter Cody Keenan's first time leading the pivotal yearly address. Administration officials have said that Obama's speech will include a call for "common ground," between Republicans and Democrats though the speech maintains Obama's second-term proclivity toward using political pressure to keep Republicans in line with White House policy.
NATIONAL
February 9, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Cody Keenan haunts the basement of the West Wing at all hours, laboring over the State of the Union address while cloaked in a black pullover that a friend jokes is his "good luck fleece. " So Keenan hopes. The pressure is on the ruddy, 32-year-old wordsmith - the nationally televised address Tuesday will be his first major effort since President Obama named him chief White House speechwriter. In the small club of past presidential speechwriters, the State of the Union is known as a notoriously miserable task.
NATIONAL
February 5, 2013 | By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Jon Favreau's career took off when, at age 23, he interrupted U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama during a speech rehearsal to offer some suggestions for improvement. That cheeky move led to a seven-year tour as Obama's lead speechwriter, an assignment that ends March 1 as Favreau considers trying his hand at another form of drama - as a screenwriter, perhaps in Los Angeles. The departure subtracts a vivid personality from the president's operation, defined since the beginning by Obama's spoken words and the team that wrote them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 26, 2012 | Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Harry C. McPherson Jr., who served as special counsel and chief speechwriter for President Lyndon Johnson from 1966 to '69 and was a valued advisor to the president on civil rights, the Vietnam War and other policy issues, has died. He was 82. McPherson, who later became a prominent Washington lawyer and lobbyist, died Feb. 16 of complications of cancer at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., said Hedrick Smith, a family friend. "Harry McPherson was a 'can do' man with sound judgment and treasured loyalty who could be counted on by generations of Johnsons," Luci Baines Johnson, the president's youngest daughter, said in a statement.
NEWS
October 26, 2011 | By Alexa Vaughn
A former speechwriter for the real president of the United States, Barack Obama, is now writing for a fictional president central to a sitcom pilot called "1600 Penn," which NBC committed to developing this week. The show will focus on the comedic pitfalls of a dysfunctional family at the White House, but writer Jon Lovett has not revealed where he will get inspiration for his cast of characters. Since leaving the administration in early summer to pursue a career in Hollywood, Lovett teamed up with ABC's "Modern Family" director Jason Winer and Broadway hit "Book of Mormon" star Josh Gad to produce the show centered around a dysfunctional family.
NEWS
September 30, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau
One of the young wordsmiths behind President Obama's oratory is leaving the administration, a crack in a close-knit speechwriting team that helped propel Obama to the White House and has played a major role in shaping his words ever since. Adam Frankel is leaving to become executive director of Digital Promise, a new nonprofit group that will explore ways technology can be used to strengthen education. “I worked with the president on a lot of his education speeches," Frankel said in an interview Friday.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 6, 2008 | Tim Rutten, Times Staff Writer
Counselor A Life at the Edge of History Ted Sorensen HarperCollins: 558 pp., $27.95 -- A great speechwriter is a master of timing, as well as a maker of phrases. Now in his 80th year, Ted Sorensen -- whom John F. Kennedy once referred to as his "intellectual blood bank" -- has as firm a grip on those qualities as ever, which is one of the reasons "Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History" is not only a fascinating memoir but also this election year's most important political book.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2009 | Joe Holley, Holley writes for the Washington Post
Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist, language expert and former White House speechwriter William Safire has died. He was 79. His assistant Rosemary Shields says Safire died this morning at a Maryland hospice. She says he had been diagnosed with cancer. Safire spent more than 30 years writing for the Op-Ed section of the New York Times. In his "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine and 15 books, Safire traced the origins of words and everyday phrases such as "straw-man," "under the bus" and "the proof is in the pudding."
OPINION
February 2, 2011 | Tim Rutten
One of the disturbing paradoxes of contemporary American life is the way in which our capacity for genuine outrage has declined as the general rancor of our political and cultural conversations has risen. FOR THE RECORD: Political novel: Tim Rutten's Feb. 2 Op-Ed column about Simon & Schuster's promotion of the political novel "O" cited two passages it said were from the book, saying they demonstrated the author's partisanship. Neither passage actually appeared in the book.
NATIONAL
December 10, 2010 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
For nearly two years, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his aides searched for the right words to describe, at the end of his presidency, his fear that the creation of a permanent military apparatus threatened the nation's livelihood, newly released papers show. Many months before delivering the farewell address in which he famously warned about the strength of the American "military-industrial complex," Eisenhower weighed various ideas for the speech, but concerns about the military were always central to his remarks.
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