Poetry and Prose: Speechwriting on the campaign trail and in government
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Mario Cuomo famously said, "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose." Hear from current and former presidential-campaign speechwriters about what it takes to write high-stakes, highly scrutinized poetry on the trail and in the convention hall—and how the job of the speechwriter changes once you've won the race and are writing prose from the halls of government. You'll hear stories packed with tips you can use whether you work for a political leader or corporate executive.
Stephen Krupin leads the executive communications practice at SKDKnickerbocker, helping CEOs, government leaders, and advocates tell their stories through speeches, presentations, and media interviews. He previously served as chief speechwriter to Secretary of State John Kerry, director of speechwriting on President Obama's re-election campaign, and chief speechwriter and press secretary to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Stephen also teaches speechwriting courses at Georgetown University and George Washington University.
Megan Rooney is deputy director of speechwriting on the Hillary for Americapresidential campaign. Previously, she was a senior presidential speechwriter for President Barack Obama; speechwriter and policy adviser to Secretary Clinton during her four years at the U.S. Department of State; Michelle Obama's speechwriter during the final stretch of the 2008 Obama for America campaign; and a senior writer at West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and strategy firm in Washington. Before becoming a speechwriter, Megan was a researcher and copy editor for the Washington Post and an intern at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lindsay Hayes, Ph.D., has served as a speechwriter and communications advisor in the White House and the U.S. Senate, at a Cabinet-level agency, and on two presidential campaigns. In 2012, Hayes served as the director of speechwriting for the Romney-Ryan campaign. In 2008, she was the senior writer for the Republican National Convention and the traveling speechwriter for vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. From 2002 through 2006, she was the speechwriter for U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. Hayes is a co-founder of Bigger Binder Media, a production company that will release its first documentary film in early 2017. Her communications firm, Redpath Writing, helps political and business leaders, opinion makers, and media figures produce speeches, books, and other written works.
Mary Kate Cary served as a White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to early 1992, authoring over 100 Presidential addresses by him. She has ghostwritten several books, two of them about the former President. Since 2004, Ms. Cary has been an Advisory Board member of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. Mary Kate is the executive producer of "41ON41," a documentary film about former President Bush, the 41st president of the United States. In addition to making "41ON41," Ms. Cary is currently a columnist for US News & World Report, a former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney General, former deputy director of communications at the Republican National Committee, former staffer at ABC News, and a former aide on Capitol Hill. She continues to write speeches for a variety of national political and corporate leaders.