Former speechwriters look back on past inaugural addresses
Mary Kate Cary and Paul Orzulak share insight into what it takes to prepare for an inaugural address
- Duration 10:46
- Date Jan 11, 2013
Mary Kate Cary and Paul Orzulak share insight into what it takes to prepare for an inaugural address
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-- my fellow Americans.
-- our country can do for you know.
-- what you can do for your country.
Today America speaks -- to the peoples of the world.
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness.
The United States will not ignore your oppression.
Or excuse your oppressors.
When you stand for your liberty and we will stand with you.
Happy new year and welcome back to the fox hole I'm your host James -- Washington and you can join our live chat just below me on your screen just use -- -- FaceBook or Twitter accounts to log in and send us your questions.
Those obviously were to historic inaugural moments the first John F.
Kennedy in 1961 issuing his famous call to citizenship.
And the second.
Reelected president George W.
Bush in -- -- January 2005.
Talking about ending tyranny in our time.
We certainly don't want to and inaugural speeches in our time in fact we've got a big one coming up this President Obama prepares to be sworn in for his second term.
So what makes for a successful inaugural address well we -- to people who have every right to know with us on Mary Kate -- Former speechwriter president George H.
Bush and you can check out her stuff on Mary Kate -- dot com.
And also Paul or is it like former speechwriter to a vice president Al Gore and President Bill Clinton.
And now with the west wing writers dot com Mary Kate first to you what makes for successful inaugural address.
You know teams -- -- -- addresses are like no other speech politician ever guess.
Though the language is very high minded the sentence structures are are much more complicated.
You don't tell as many stories there there's very little humor.
It's a totally different animal than what most speechwriters -- -- used to write and make it harder much harder much harder and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
And rule will rule find out exactly who your worst minutes later I get his or her name.
Paul it is it is sort of mandatory that no matter what the speaking style.
The person who's delivering the inaugural address there has to be this sort of -- -- Sony and soaring rhetoric -- it and I would argue that that's exactly the problem that.
He really big number of great inaugural addresses in history you can -- count on one hand.
Most of them are forgettable -- constrained James -- -- -- the competition for worst ever.
Is much fiercer than the one -- best ever because everybody tries to speak there hadn't -- the problem is -- your head is in the clouds.
Your feeder never on the ground and you're never connecting to people the way that you do when a normal speech you know long is -- -- supposed to be roughly.
I think the brief this one in modern times my old boss President Bush 41.
His was about ten minutes twelve minutes some can go you know 45 if you look back over history than I would I would err on the side of -- And when you're aiming for a total running time length of 1015 minutes or twenty minutes what if you've got a certain set time in mind.
How was a writer of these speeches do you.
Kraft how do you know how many words to 222 right.
-- -- -- -- Well Ed you know people speak and a hundred words a minute 140 words a minute -- -- the number of words by that.
By the speed which is Peter speaks but you know interest that.
It depends if you're telling -- story and never feels like it's that long if you're not telling the story in your connecting teams that don't really.
Fit together or you're really reaching for some strange.
Thing that's gonna be carved in marble someday hopefully your library before it feels a lot longer.
So you know they I mean my preferences for inaugural address is that -- some kind of a story and I would love to see the president in his -- dress or a break from tradition.
And have his feet on the ground as much as he has his words in the clouds to really tell a story for this moment in history because we aren't quite a moment in history not only here but around the world.
He isn't his best when he talks about the American experience and puts now in the context of where we -- I -- -- -- move away from that in his address because.
It lends itself to that moment probably better than any in any address since president Reagan's.
In thirty years ago I mean -- -- from the where we are as a country -- country we wanna be there a lot of questions that we have to answer we -- some of those questions in need in the campaign.
But now -- the time that we're gonna start addressing things like immigration and taxes and do we want to be a country that has.
Automatic weapons on the streets are not reportedly -- gun controls going to be a large subject in this in the -- -- and we were.
There's a 150 anniversary of the -- patient proclamation.
Gettysburg address is the fiftieth anniversary of the march on Washington up until a month ago we are thinking about those things very differently.
Now they are two of the high profiles.
Hope my profile symbols of gun violence in the history of the country Abe Lincoln Martin Luther King what the White House is he decides to do about how those things were together.
Could -- up to -- -- Mary Kate is there an appreciable difference between crafting a president's first inaugural.
And his second inaugural.
So what -- the.
I think there is in this case you know I went back and read president Obama's first inaugural address and he does tell stories -- -- about about valley forge but.
Most of that speech he could give almost word for word again right now because.
So little has changed in that speech he talks about.
Wanting to end to -- too many people are out of work reaching out to the Muslim world reforming our schools ending the fiscal crisis.
So there's all kinds of redundancies that I think he can't go back to he's got -- start something new and and and my advice would be.
To look back you know again I'm biased because I'm bush 41%.
But when he gave his -- usually dressed in red thank you very much.
If heat was at a similar time where it is divided government the house and the senate were in democratic hands it was a very poisonous atmosphere.
And he talked about a new breezes blowing he turned to that the Democrats on the -- with him and he said.
To my friends in the loyal opposition and I do mean friends and I do mean loyal.
I offer you my hand this is the age of the offered hand the American people did not send us here to Becker.
-- of your inspiration and speaking of outstretched hands let's play another clip that makes use of the same metaphor.
From president Obama's first inaugural almost four years ago.
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict.
Or blame their society's -- on the west no -- people will judge you on what you can build.
Not what you destroy.
-- -- For those who claim to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent.
Know -- -- -- on the wrong side of history.
But that we will extend a hand.
If your wife non -- short list.
Number of people have commented on how Barack Obama -- as a speaker in different settings.
Is -- sometimes to tailor his actual.
Speaking style and his pronunciation different words in there you just heard a grand.
Rather -- like history come out of him.
Almost for the southern inflection.
And Paul and Mary Kate just raised a good point she said.
All the things that he said in the first inaugural.
Could be said today -- still too much unemployment there's still problems in this and financial system and there's the housing market and and and and as we heard -- -- part of foreign policy just now they're they're that that the that the -- still.
Very much clinched -- it does this says Mary Kate suggested for close.
Certain rhetorical avenues for him in in crafting and delivering this address.
I'm not sure does -- in that same address he also said that these issues won't be solved in four years or eight years or -- in the life of this administration.
But that we need to begin to address these I would I think we have begun to address a lot of those we have a lot more work to do -- he's never deny that he has a lot more work to do.
You but as president Kennedy said in his inaugural you know inaugural address famously that they'll let us begin to make these changes for -- generation or two whether it was.
You know Mitt Romney or Barack Obama being inaugurated.
It what is still in the same message in those wouldn't get resolved in four years so I think the themes were big enough that they are gonna be things we work on for the next generation.
We hear it always said whether it's true or not to and by -- to the given presidents that while the president writes his own speeches or has -- a very strong hand in writing his her his own speeches.
On we have just about two minutes left.
Talk for me to view about the president that you worked with and in your case Mary Kate that George Herbert Walker Bush.
And what you were able to observe about his interactions with his speech writers on the product if you will.
He he was well all speechwriters are trained to denied.
And they're responding to your.
He just policy around the -- a little humor can think that's a that's a very common thing it's been -- But our bus was very good about.
Working with us and and adding his own voice to it the most memorable thing about him is.
He did not like to use the word I he thought we were in a democracy.
-- in a democracy the president should say we.
His mother had taught him not to talk about the great I am and that translated into our speeches and and so I'm very conscious of presidential speeches that have too much I -- -- doesn't ring true to me I think we're a democracy he speaking on behalf of all this it should be we.
And I carried that with me and my whole career -- as a result.
Well we saw him this summer what he does best -- we were all united in the delusion that we could do better for him that he could do for himself and he was a person that always said you know I wanna speak to people I just wanna talk -- -- wanna tell a story.
He has a lot of faith in people's intelligence and he does that when he speaks he's introduces speechwriters as a people that type my speeches.
You know it's he didn't he.
I mean he really just don't know that's.
Right -- -- yeah.
You have to get a degree for that.
I get -- a lot of my former top our -- -- review associated with a particular phrase or two or coinage that that your particularly proud of.
-- and I hereby pardoned this Thanksgiving Turkey.
-- people keep using your.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- We got to leave it there I'm afraid I thank you both so much -- or the lack of west wing writers and Mary Kate -- of Mary Kate -- dot com thanks for sharing your insights on speech writing world and look forward to president Obama's inaugural address.
Actually on January 21 this year -- -- usual date other usually on January 20.