Speechwriters pay homage to legendary Ted Sorensen

Theodore Sorensen mocked criticism of Barack Obama as someone who excelled at “mere words” and urged a nearly sold-out audience of speechwriters to savor a new era of eloquence. Video

Theodore Sorensen mocked criticism of Barack Obama as someone who excelled at “mere words” and urged a nearly sold-out audience of speechwriters to savor a new era of eloquence

Ted Sorensen couldn’t see the adulation in the Mayflower ballroom last Friday. As the frail, 81-year-old John F. Kennedy speechwriter explained to the 300 respectful souls who watched in rapt attention,” I’ve lost most of my eyesight.”

No matter. He didn’t have to “see” it. He could feel the love among the attendees at the Ragan Communications 2009 Speechwriters Conference, many of whom flocked to Washington D.C. to pay homage to the most well-known member of their craft.

The feeling in the Mayflower’s standing-room only ballroom was palpable and cathartic.

Two standing ovations. A 150-strong, attendee conga line that stretched the length of the hotel lobby—all waiting to secure their personal copy of the Sorensen memoir, “Counselor,” signed by the author. There were even a few veteran speechwriters in the crowd openly weeping.

It was a Speechwriters Conference unlike any other.

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