Speechwriter hits the big time

2011-01-13T23:06:00Z 2011-01-13T23:07:57Z Speechwriter hits the big time Arizona Daily Star
January 13, 2011 11:06 pm

WASHINGTON - President Obama's emotional address on the Tucson tragedy was written in part by a little-known 30-year-old Chicago native who works in the White House.

Cody S. Keenan, an alum of Northwestern and Harvard, worked anonymously for many months on what a friend called the "eulogy and commencement beat."

But he's anonymous no more. On the flight back from Tucson, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One that Keenan had been the speechwriter.

Gibbs said later Thursday that the Tucson speech "was very much the president's" and that ministers weighed in with thoughts and prayers and Obama reviewed Scriptures.

According to Gibbs, Obama probably had his "first conversations" with Keenan late on Monday.

"And what they usually do is the president will - they'll bring a laptop in and the president will download a little bit on what he'd like to say."

Obama sent edits back to Keenan about 11 p.m. Tucson time Tuesday, Gibbs said, and worked on the speech continued through the day.

"They made edits even after we landed in Arizona," he noted.

Asked if Obama felt good about the speech, Gibbs had two words: "He did."

Chicago Tribune

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