Speechwriter Obama Gets Competitive

Inaugural address pressure is on, but Lincoln may help
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Jan 16, 2009 12:50 PM CST
IN this Jan. 20, 1961, file photo, President John F. Kennedy delivers his inaugural address after taking the oath of office at the Capitol in Washington.    (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has nearly completed his inaugural address, and he's uniquely qualified to take on a seemingly insurmountable challenge: living up to the example set by the likes of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. "I would think we would hear the most eloquent speech since JFK’s 48 years ago," Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen tells Politico. So ...  no pressure!

Chief speechwriter Jon Favreau finished the first draft within a month of Election Day after meeting with Obama and David Axelrod; it's gone through at least two more drafts. As always, Obama—who visited the Lincoln Memorial in search of inspiration—has the final say. A Clinton staffer sees a definite contrast with No. 42's approach: "We were the kind of people who would write the term paper the night before it’s due."