Pundit Wire

Contributors

Jim Beckham is a writer and strategic communications consultant from the Jurassic Age, starting in academics more than 30 years ago as Assistant to the President, University of Florida where he did his doctoral study in Journalism. His achievements in the communication’s craft include speechwriter for Senator Robert Byrd, chief writer for the National Coal Association, six years as speechwriter to the TVA Board, and a decade as an associate of Potomac Communications Group, Washington, DC. full bio >>

The former chief speechwriter for Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Dan Conley is a Chicago-based professional speechwriter and frequent op-ed contributor to major national publications. Dan enjoys public speaking more than ghostwriting, but sadly lacks a stage on which to perform. In addition to the writing, Dan is an experienced public speaking trainer. He has volunteered his time as a high school debate coach and consulted for numerous campaigns, big and small. full bio>>


Charles Crawford is a British former career diplomat turned writer, public speaking specialist and mediator. His work for HM Diplomatic Service featured postings in communist Yugoslavia, South Africa as apartheid ended and Russia after the USSR collapsed, then three ambassadorships: in Sarajevo after the conflict (1996-98); in Belgrade after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic (2001-03); and in Warsaw when Poland joined the European Union (2003-07). He also served as FCO Speechwriter in the 1980s and has drafted or contributed to speeches by members of the British Royal Family, Prime Ministers and different Foreign Ministers and other senior figures. full bio>>


Hal Gordon was a speechwriter in the Reagan White House, where he wrote for the Counsellor to the President Edwin Meese, OMB director James C. Miller, and other top domestic advisors to President Reagan. From 1997 to the beginning of 2001, Hal was speechwriter to General Colin L. Powell at America’s Promise – General Powell’s campaign for young people. In between his stints in government and the nonprofit sector, Hal has written on a fulltime or freelance basis for some of this country’s top corporate executives. He has been a featured speaker at speechwriter conferences in the U.S. and in Britain. full bio>>


Dave Helfert has been a political and governmental communicator for more than 30 years, writing speeches for elected officials and candidates, creating media in more than 200 political campaigns, working for six years as a Communications Director in the Clinton Administration and then nine years in the U.S. House. He has written speeches for Reps. Chet Edwards, Dave Obey, Neil Abercrombie, and in 2004, for a number of surrogate campaigners in the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Dave teaches political communication courses at American University and Johns Hopkins. full bio >>


John K. Herr is a speechwriter and standup comedian. A graduate of Penn State University, Herr served in the White House under both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush. He has written for three Governors and four Cabinet secretaries on topics ranging from homeland security to housing policy to education. He wrote one of the first major speeches following the 9-11 terrorist attacks for then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. He also wrote jokes for President George W. Bush. full bio >>


Jonathan D. Horn is the President and CEO of Jonathan Horn Communications, LLC. He is also a senior strategist at Oval Office Writers and a contributor at Forbes.com, where he writes the Capital Words column. During his career as a speechwriter and public affairs expert, Jonathan has advised leaders at the highest levels of the public and private sectors. Most notably, he served as a speechwriter and special assistant for President George W. Bush. full bio >>


For 16 years, Jim Jaffe worked for House Democrats who served on the Ways and Means Committee, apprenticing with Representatives Green, Gibbons and Gephardt before (having run out of Democratis whose names started with G) being hired by Chairman Dan Rostenkowski where Jim was the staff person/henchman (depending on your perspective) assigned to dealing with the media. Since his retirement, he has worked around town (IRS, Georgetown Law, Powell Tate, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Employee Benefit Research Institute) before launching a freelance career that includes blogging on health issues at Centeredpolitics.com, and infrequently on the Huffington Post. full bio >>


Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society and directs the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  In the Carter Administration he served as chief speechwriter to Vice President Walter F. Mondale.  As deputy campaign manager of Mondale’s presidential race, he ran speechwriting, issues and research. full bio >>


Recently named Adjunct Professor of the Year at American University’s School of Communication, novelist and speechwriter Bob Lehrman has taught public speaking at AU since 1998 and in 2005 created AU’s popular course in speechwriting. Former White House Chief Speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, Lehrman has written thousands of speeches for Democratic politicians at the highest levels, as well as for nonprofit heads, corporate CEOs and entertainers. He has also written award winning novels for young adults, and the highly-praised novel for grown-ups: Defectors (Morrow, 1987). Lehrman’s new book, The Political Speechwriter’s Companion (CQPress 2009) has won bi-partisan praise from politicians, journalists and academics. full bio >>


Paul Liben has worked in New York City and Washington, DC as a speechwriter for the past 15 years. He served as a speechwriter for New York Governor George Pataki and then as director of speechwriting for U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. A published writer, he has written op-eds for more than 100 publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, New York Daily News, Human Events, Seattle Times, Oregonian, Plain Dealer, St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, Manchester Union-Leader, Las Vegas Review Journal, Denver Post, Daily Oklahoman, Birmingham News, and Huntsville Times. full bio >>


Called “a poet” by author and actor (and former White House speechwriter) Ben Stein, Mike Long is an author, essayist, and speechwriter. As an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, he teaches graduate courses in public relations and writing, including speechwriting. He is a recent recipient of the Dean’s Service Award for contributions to the program and student life. Mike has written remarks for Members of Congress, U.S. Cabinet secretaries, governors, diplomats, CEOs, and four presidential candidates. He was also a semi-finalist for the 2010 Kairos Screenwriting Prize for his screenplay The Joby Project. full bio >>


David Meadvin, president of Inkwell Strategies, has advised and written for executives and officials at the highest levels of American government and business. As former chief speechwriter for the U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senate Majority Leader, he has extensive experience writing creative, message-driven speeches, op-eds, policy papers, strategic plans and other content. As a senior member of the U.S. Senate leadership’s communications staff, David played a central role in crafting the national message and was the primary author of the Senate’s Weekly Radio Address. After leaving the public sector, David launched Inkwell Strategies, a boutique firm specializing in executive speechwriting and strategic communications. Inkwell Strategies’ clients are leaders in the political, corporate and non-profit sectors. full bio >>


Lissa Muscatine has spent her professional career in government, politics, and journalism, serving most recently at the State Department as Director of Speechwriting and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State. She was a senior advisor on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and was co-collaborator with Senator Clinton on her White House memoir, Living History, published in 2003. She joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as a Presidential Speechwriter and later was named Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Communications to the First Lady. During a 15-year career as a journalist, she worked at The Washington Post, The Washington Star, and the Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, Ms.), and has contributed to The New York Times and various magazines. She has won several journalism awards and honors for public service and teaching. full bio >>


Bob Neuman served as a speech writer and administrative assistant to Rep. Morris Udall. He also was Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee. Bob was co-author with Mr. Udall of the book, “Too Funny to be President.” Additionally, Bob was the media director of the Commission on Presidential Debates and now is a communication consultant. full bio >>


Noam Neusner is an experienced communications strategist, speechwriter, journalist, and author. He is the founding principal of 30 Point Strategies, which focuses on strategic communications, speechwriting, media relations, and policy-specific writing. Neusner works directly with CEOs of large corporations, heads of major philanthropic foundations, and opinion leaders across a wide spectrum of academia, journalism, and politics. In addition, Neusner has drafted and shaped opinion pieces that have run under his clients’ bylines in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and USA Today. full bio >>


Bill is a former writer/editor and speechwriter for the U.S. Farm Service Agency of the USDA. He was also a writer/editor/podcaster for the National Institutes of Health. After taking early retirement from the government following 12 years of Parkinson’s disease, Bill has switched gears from “putting words into other peoples’ mouths” to “telling people what they should think about stuff.” Even as a speechwriter, Bill was a favorite because of his knack for adding a wry, satirical, sometimes sardonic touch to his writing. full bio >>


When Eric Schnure was 6, nothing was more important than the mornings he spent at the ice rink. In fact, on a family trip to Disney World, upon spotting the animatronic Abraham Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents, Eric looked up at his mom and said, “Can I ask Abe a question? I want to know if he plays hockey.”

Three decades later, as co-founder of the Humor Cabinet, Eric Schnure still asks powerful leaders critically important questions, like “Do you understand the comic rule of three?”

Most days, this former White House speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore works on strategic and executive communications as a principal at the Dewey Square Group. He is also an adjunct professor at American University where he teaches speechwriting. full bio >>


Leonard Steinhorn is a professor of communication at American University, where he teaches politics, strategic communication, recent American history, and courses on the presidency. A former speechwriter and strategist for causes, candidates, and members of Congress, he’s written on American politics and culture for major print and online publications, among them The Washington PostSalon, Politico, and The Huffington Post, and his two books – The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy and By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and The Reality of Race – have generated widespread discussion and debate. Steinhorn appears regularly in the media and serves as a political analyst for CBS News. full bio >>


Robert Stewart got started writing speeches for New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman during her 1998 re-election campaign. From there, he has written large audience speeches and remarks for the Presidents-CEOs and executive officers of PhRMA, GBTA and other national trade associations, nonprofits such as The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, members of Congress, federal officials from DHS and NIH, and persons from network news and Hollywood. In 2008 he wrote a speech for President-elect Obama. He has written op-eds and presentation materials for leaders in health care and medicine, university presidents, and public relations firms in Washington and New York. full bio >>


A speechwriter and advisor to President Ronald Reagan and corporate executives, Mark D. Weinberg is a highly experienced executive communications consultant – and former White House spokesperson – who has held senior management positions at Fortune 500 corporations and the Federal Government. Currently, he runs his own communications consultancy, which provides communications counsel to corporate and public sector clients in consumer products, insurance, travel and leisure, publishing, health care, biotechnology, film and television production, acquisitions, foreign diplomacy, and a Presidential Library. full bio >>


Dan Whitman is Assistant Professor of Foreign Policy at the Washington Semester Program, American University. As Public Diplomacy officer in USIA and the Department of State over 25 years, he drafted and edited speeches for U.S. ambassadors in Denmark, Spain, South Africa, Cameroon, Haiti, and Guinea-Conakry. A senior Foreign Service Officer, he retired in 2009 from the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State. He is author of 40 published articles and six books, including A Haiti Chronicle: The Undoing of a Latent Democracy, 1999-2001. Whitman was Executive Director of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, and Program Officer for Delphi Research Associates.  full bio >>


An expert in oral and written communication, Carol Whitney currently teaches these skills as an Adjunct Faculty member in American University’s Department of Government. Since the 1990s, she has taught popular courses in Political Speechwriting and Applied Political Writing, along with other political and policy courses.

Whitney is nationally recognized as a political strategist whose expertise in message development and delivery has been the key to victory for many Republican candidates over the past thirty years. She is one of the few political strategists who specialized in women’s campaigns, and was strategist for the 1986 winning campaign of Kay Orr, the first Republican woman governor in this country’s history. full bio >>


Ted Widmer was a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2000, and continued to work for President Clinton as an adviser to the end of his presidency. He also conducted extensive interviews with President Clinton as he was preparing to write his autobiography, My Life. From 2000-2006 he was the director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. Since 2006 he has been the Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. He is an occasional contributor to the New York Times,Washington Post and Boston Globe, and edited the Library of America’s two-volume compilation of speeches. full bio >>


Antonio (Tony) Williams currently serves as Director of Government Affairs for Comcast Cable. In this position Tony works to align Comcast’s Local, State, and Federal Government Affairs teams with Comcast’s Video, High Speed Data, Phone and Interactive Media business units as they develop political strategy and grassroots communications to institute new products and technologies. full bio >>


In 1989, Chriss Winston became the first woman to head the White House Office of Speech Writing as Deputy Assistant to the President for Communications and Director of Speech Writing for President George H.W. Bush. She also oversaw the White House Offices of Media Relations and Public Affairs. Winston also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Reagan and as Director of the Office of Public Liaison for the United States Information Agency. Since 1994, she has headed her own consultancy, CorporateWord, which provides speechwriting, editorial services, and strategic communications for its clients. A longtime political campaign professional, she was selected in 2007 as a teaching Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. full bio >>

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