In His Candidate’s Voice

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"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."

The pitch worked. Favreau and Obama rapidly found a relatively direct way to work with each other. "What I do is to sit with him for half an hour," Favreau explains. "He talks and I type everything he says. I reshape it, I write. He writes, he reshapes it. That's how we get a
finished product.

"It's a great way to write speeches. A lot of times, you write something, you hand it in, it gets hacked by advisers, it gets to the candidate and then it gets sent back to you. This is a much more intimate way to work."

Some speeches are much more the product of the candidate himself. Obama e-mailed Favreau his draft of his announcement speech in Springfield, Ill., at 4 a.m. on the morning of the campaign launch last February.

Now Favreau has his own team: Adam Frankel, a 26-year-old who worked with Ted Sorensen on his memoirs, and Ben Rhodes, a 30-year-old who worked with Lee Hamilton on the 9/11 commission's report.

Member Comments
  • Posted By: SurfVt @ 02/27/2008 1:28:54 PM

    Comment: Barack is our national statesman. He can make every citizen understand that it is his adminstration which will draw the best minds of the world together to bring world peace through diplomacy. When he makes a few honest promises which can be kept , on schedule, he will see victory, not for himself, but for our nation. Returning veterans can be rewarded with jobs and educational opportunities created by economic development invigorated by his administration's commitment to rebuild our infrastructure first. Every man and woman in the world wants the same basic things at the end of the day. Obama has the stamina and the diplomatic intellect to begin to undo the mistakes of the last 16 years which I'm certain will take 20 years or more.

  • Posted By: Adelle @ 02/12/2008 3:25:50 PM

    Comment: It's great that JohnTexas is so familiar with people on welfare. How many welfare recipients does he personally know? How many has he had discussions with? Has he asked anyone why s/he was receiving welfare?
    Does JohnTexas have the same vitriol for corporate welfare? Growing up in South Texas, did he learn that the U.S. spends over $92 billion per year on subsidies? Does he know what subsidies are?
    It's wonderful that JohnTexas is so enlightened about welfare recipients and that he has been so competent as to have never needed monetary assistance. Certainly, there are individuals who abuse the system, who are lazy, parasitic people who should immediately be cut off from receiving aid.
    Nonetheless, assuming 99% of "people are welfare" are lazy, baby-popping, high school dropouts would be similar to assuming 99% South Texans are moronic, arrogant idiots.
    And that would be incorrect, wouldn't it?

  • Posted By: JohnTexas @ 02/07/2008 3:14:05 PM

    Comment: This guy needs to get a real job and work in the real world.
    What in the world does defending the right of welfare recipients mean.
    I grew up in South Texas and 99% of people are welfare because they are too lazy to work or they drop out of high school and start having kids that they can???t support so they rely on the rest of us.
    A safety net welfare system for US citizens is fine for a few months until the person gets a job and even some continuing support if the job
    does not pay enough for a single person. But if you are struggling to eat don???t have kids one after the other and except handouts.

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