JFK’s knack for the spoken word was unrivalled. His oratorical mastery coupled with a dosage of the Boston accent continues to inspire and influence speechwriters decades later. Kennedy magnificent speeches made interesting watching and listening. These moving speeches that played a central role in his candidacy and eventual presidency were written in team mode by one Ted Sorenson.
Ted Sorenson, who was Kennedy’s close advisor, did not work in isolation a he incorporated a team of brilliant writers. Phrases authored by Sorenson captured the imagination of a generation which are highlighted in his book-Counsellor- that looks at the attributes of Kennedy as a communicator. JFK’s life was rich with memorable moments that provided fodder for his speech writers to pen the memorable speeches. Such moments include his heroics in the war front, clinching the senate seat and rising to the presidency. His dazzling speeches gave his ever keen audience the feeling that they knew him. Kennedy had the audience eager and expectant to hear his speech even before he uttered a word. Barrack Obama oratorical abilities are similar to those of JFK.
Legendary speechwriter, Theodore Chaikin “Ted” Sorensen was born in May 8, 1928. Sorenson who President Kennedy referred to as an“intellectual blood bank” is of counsel at the law firmof Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Sorensen is synonymous with JFK speeches, counsel and adviser.
He effectively played the role of JFK Counsel& Adviser and most importantly the architect of his spellbinding speeches. He coined the phrase that exhorted listeners to “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” in Kennedy’s inaugural speech. Sorensen states that although he was pivotal in the composition of the inaugural speech the phrase that became a clarion call of the Kennedy administration was “written by Kennedy himself” counter to what many believe.
Sorensen entry to foreign policy was necessitated after the debacle that was the Bay of pigs when the President asked him to take part in the discussion. He was handy in resolving Cuban Missile Crisis, assisting in preparing JFK correspondence with Nikita Khruschev.
He initially served as a special counsel & Advisor in charge of the domestic agenda.
Following the assassination of Kennedy, Sorensen helped Lyndon B. Johnson who succeeded JFK, in his first few months, according to LBJ memoirs. He authored Lyndon B. Johnson maiden speech to the congress and also his state of the union address.
His departed to the White House to write JFK biography that was published in 1965. The biography that went to become an international bestseller and was subsequently translated to several languages illuminated the life and times of JFK in the White House.
JFK is credited with minimal legislative accomplishment. Although he was the brainchild of the landmark legislation of the civil rights action he did not live to see it materialize. JFK aspirations, spirit, lineage, perceived strengths continue to inspire people across the world and leaders who want to emulate his oratorical skills. Kennedy mastery in the art of speaking was helped by the fact that he was not bitter. He would occasionally point for effect. He effectively used these public speaking basics. JFK remains a phenomenal even today with policiticians from all political spectrum and business leaders across the continent listening to his speech structures and delivery.