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Chapter Three. Preparing to Write

Chapter Three. Preparing to Write

I hope you enjoyed reading President Roosevelt's memorable declaration of war at the end of Chapter One. For those of us who recall World War II, reading that speech is like stepping onto the page of a history book. Another great presidential speaker was John F. Kennedy. He made many memorable speeches and spoke many memorable lines. He was perhaps at his best in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, when he challenged Americans to "ask what you can do for your country."

Did Kennedy himself write that speech? Probably not. No doubt the put a lot of himself into the writing, but he almost certainly worked with at least one speech writer. Kennedy's main speechwriter was Ted Sorensen. In his 1965 book about Kennedy, Sorensen tells us that the president never pretended he had time to write the first draft of a speech. Knowing how much work is involved in writing a good speech, I can easily understand that. One would certainly hope that the president of the United States has more important ways to spend his time.


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