We're going to be hearing a lot of clips from the candidates' speeches tomorrow in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. I think we sometimes forget, particularly when we hear a superb one, that the person who wrote it is not the same as the person who delivers it.
Who are these speechwriters? The New York Times had a long profile Friday on Barack Obama's chief speechwriter. He's 26 year old Jon Favreau. They met the night of Obama's 2004 speech in Boston. Favreau, who was then a speechwriter for John Kerry (yes, at 23) heard Obama rehearse the speech backstage and recommended changing a line. One thing led to another, and the next year Favreau was working for Obama. Obama has two other speechwriters, ages 26 and 30.
Favreau spent a lot of time with Obama in the beginning months of the campaign, when things weren't as busy. He's successful because he isn't writing in the abstract, he's channeling his boss.
Mr. Favreau also used this time to master Mr. Obama’s voice. He took down almost everything the senator said and absorbed it. Now, he said, when he sits down to write, he just channels Mr. Obama — his ideas, his sentences, his phrases.
As another speechwriter puts it: [More...]
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