You are here

Free Speech of the Week Signup NowFree Speech of the Week Signup Now

On speechwriting, and fact-checking, in the White House

, responsible speechwriters were well represented by former Michelle Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz. She wrote about speechwriting and fact-checking in the White House, in USA Today.

It was exhausting. When it’s 11 p.m. the night before a big speech, and you’ve been working around the clock for days, the last thing you want in your inbox is an email from a fact-checker that starts, “Thanks for sending the latest draft, we have some flags …” and then goes on for pages, picking apart the words you’ve poured your heart into crafting.

While our fact-checkers occasionally drove us crazy, we were incredibly grateful for their work. It is an awesome— and terrifying—responsibility to write speeches for the leader of the free world and his or her spouse. Their words can affect markets and cause international incidents. And through their speeches, the president and first lady speak directly to the American people about their most pressing and personal concerns.

… our ultimate bosses were the people we served — the people who paid our salaries and entrusted us with their aspirations, their worries and their high expectations. We felt that we always owed them the truth. We should all insist on nothing less from the current occupant of the Oval Office and his staff.