Writing to Power: Presidential Speechwriters on Winning Elections

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Tuesday October 15

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6:30 PM  –  8:00 PM


A good speech—or a bad one—can quickly change the course of an election. And when it comes to the race for the White House, speeches hold even more weight as public perception can turn on a dime. In this special program, we welcome three veteran speechwritersCarolyn Curiel, David Kusnet, and John McConnell—who have all worked on various presidential campaigns.


After writing for the campaigns of Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale, DAVID KUSNET wrote the winning economic message for the first Clinton presidential campaign with his book Speaking American (Thunder's Mouth, 1992), then served as Chief Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the President.

JOHN MCCONNELL wrote for the campaigns of Vice President Dan Quayle and for presidential candidate Bob Dole before writing for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. He also served as both Deputy Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Vice President, writing key speeches, including in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11.

CAROLYN CURIEL has covered presidential campaigns as a journalist at the New York Times and at ABC News Nightline. She joined the Clinton White House in 1993, becoming Senior Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the President, writing on race relations and other domestic issues.

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