Pundit Wire
Where Political Speechwriters Comment on the News

Tag Archives: President John F. Kennedy

JFK in Ireland: Triumph Before Tragedy

JFK in Ireland Fifty years ago on June 29, President John F. Kennedy concluded an official visit to Ireland with brief remarks delivered at Shannon Airport. The visit was an historic and emotional occasion for all concerned. Kennedy was America’s first Irish-Catholic president, and he was the first American president to visit Ireland during his term of office.

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‘Strategy for Peace’ redux: JFK’s speech after 50 years

President JFK Commencement Address Fifty years ago today, a young White House speechwriter took a seat out on American University’s baseball field and listened, thrilled, as John F. Kennedy, delivered the commencement speech he had — mostly — written.

What thrilled Ted Sorensen? Hearing, “principles so fully consistent with my own … primarily on peace.”

That speech, “A Strategy for Peace,” has become famous, deservedly, and over the last few months, amply celebrated for its “boldness.” But on today’s anniversary are we celebrating just eloquence and vision?

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Editor’s Note: Announcing “What Would a JFK Say Now?” Speechwriting Competition Winners

Editor's Note In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s American University Commencement speech, the “What Would a JFK Say Now?” speechwriting competition asked AU students to answer the titular question in a commencement speech of no more than 1500 words, focusing on policy for any broad world issue.

Submitted speeches were reviewed by AU professors Lenny Steinhorn, Bob Lehrman, Jeff Nussbaum and Amanda Fuchs Miller. The final 12 speeches were judged by Adam Frankel, former senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, and Desson Thomson, speechwriter for the Obama Administration and former movie critic for The Washington Post.

PunditWire would like to congratulate the winners:


Please click through to read each winning speech.

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The State of the Union is Stranger

SOTU 2013 Thank you. Please, everybody, have a seat. Turn off your iPhones, you can watch the Dorner coverage later. That means you, Joe.

My fellow Americans, 51 years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that, “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress. It is my task to report the State of the Union. To improve it is the task of us all.”


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President Obama’s Inaugural 2.0: Breaking the Second-Term Jinx

2009 Inauguration Day “At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first.”

So said Abraham Lincoln as he began his second inaugural address in 1865. And then he gave one of the greatest presidential orations ever, pledging, “with malice towards none, with charity towards all … to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

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Did Romney Channel FDR in Warsaw?


When I read the text of Mitt Romney’s speech in Warsaw on Tuesday, there were two sentences that stirred a vague memory in the back of my speechwriter’s brain. “In the 1980s,” said Mr. Romney, “when other nations doubted that political tyranny could ever be faced down or overcome, the answer was, ‘Look to Poland.’ And today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer once again is ‘Look to Poland.’”

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