Who Writes This Stuff?

11 01 2008

If something about those inspiring speeches Barack Obama delivers sounds familiar, it’s certainly possible that former JFK adviser/wordsmith Ted Sorensen has helped out with a few lines here and there. 

(Note to Obama: whatever your campaign is paying Sorensen, double it!!)

Obama’s Kennedy Connection

JFK Inaugural Address, January 1961 

By Robert Stein

There were echoes in his Iowa victory speech last Thursday night that may come from the influence on Barack Obama of the man who worked with JFK on “Profiles in Courage” and many of his greatest speeches, including the famous 1961 “Ask Not” Inaugural Address.
At 79, Ted Sorensen has been out on the campaign trail, introducing Obama and comparing him to the President he served almost half a century ago.
“Obama is older than Kennedy was when Kennedy ran for president,” Sorensen has been pointing out. “He’s had the same experience in the Senate as Kennedy had when he ran for president, and he’s had the same opportunity to view the country from abroad as Kennedy did when he ran for president.”

Sorensen, who doesn’t see well now and needs help getting up to speak, tells crowds, “Don’t worry about my eyesight. I have more vision than the President of the United States.”

Taking the oath of office, John F. Kennedy said “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.’

In Des Moines, Obama said, “The time has come for a president who will be honest about the choices and the challenges we face, who will listen to you and learn from you, even when we disagree, who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know…who restores our moral standing, who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century.”

Sorensen was at Robert Kennedy’s side when he campaigned for President in 1968 and would say, “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Now Obama is telling Americans “our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

Barack Obama and Ted Sorensen

(Ask Not What Your Candidate Can do For You – Ask What You Can Do For Your Candidate: Sorensen with Barack Obama)

In the last debate, Hillary Clinton observed that “words are not actions, as beautifully presented and passionately felt as they are.” But Obama insisted that “words do inspire. Words do help people get involved…Don’t discount that power.”

With Ted Sorensen at his side, Barack Obama is not likely to forget that.

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3 responses

11 01 2008
Helen

You know, I thought those sounded like the lost JFK speeches! Thanks for solving the mystery!

11 01 2008
Pedro

Interesting post today…added to our blog too! thanks!

18 03 2008
David

Sorenson advises and tutors the Obama speechwriting staff.

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