Symposium: White House Speechwriters, June 20-21

Symposium: White House Speechwriters, June 20-21
June 18, 2008 — On June 20 and 21, the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs will host a White House Speechwriters Symposium, bringing together speechwriters from the Nixon through Clinton administrations to discuss White House communications and crafting a presidential message.

These former speechwriters — now authors, political activists and consultants, party insiders and journalists — will address several forms of presidential communication, including the convention acceptance speech, the State of the Union address, the inaugural address, and crisis and other addresses.

"The way the president communicates with citizens is vitally important," said Russell Riley, chairman of the Oral History Program. "It affects the mood of the country, the way the population sees and participates in democracy, and the political agenda. This gathering, which was put together with special direction from non-resident senior fellow Michael Nelson of Rhodes College, is a great opportunity for our scholars to gain insights into how presidential speeches are crafted, and how individual presidents make use of their speechwriting staffs."

Due to space limitations, audience attendance is by invitation only, but the proceedings will be webcast live and archived at www.millercenter.org.

The conference schedule:

Friday, June 20

2-3:30 p.m.: The Convention Acceptance Speech
Panelists:
Patrick Anderson (Carter speechwriter)
Kenneth Khachigian (Reagan speechwriter)
Ray Price (Nixon speechwriter)
Martin Medhurst, Baylor University

3:45-5:15 p.m.: The State Of The Union
Panelists:
Terry Edmonds (Clinton speechwriter)
Lee Huebner (Nixon and Ford speechwriter)
Clark Judge (Reagan and Bush speechwriter)
Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, University of Pennsylvania

Saturday, June 21

9-10:30 a.m.: The Inaugural Address
Panelists:
Ray Price (Nixon speechwriter)
Don Baer (Clinton speechwriter)
Patrick Anderson (Carter speechwriter)
Charles O. Jones, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Miller Center

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Crisis Speech and Other Major Addresses
Panelists:
Walter Shapiro (Carter speechwriter)
Peter Robinson (Reagan speechwriter)
Kenneth Khachigian (Reagan speechwriter)
Andy Rudalevige, Dickinson College
 
Founded in 1975, the Miller Center of Public Affairs is a leading nonpartisan public policy institution that aims to fulfill Jefferson's public service mission by serving as a national meeting place for engaged citizens, scholars, students, media representatives and government officials to research, reflect, and report on issues of national importance to the governance of the United States, with special attention to the central role and history of the presidency.