"It was one of the hardest speeches I've written," Favreau tells the left-leaning website.
Sam Stein of Huffington Post reports:
It is surprisingly difficult to write speeches for President Barack Obama, one of the most gifted orators in recent political history.
Yes, written words tend to sound better when he's reciting them. But the sheer number of speeches he's delivered and the magnitude of the moments in which they are given make it tough to be original and even harder to be memorable. The speech-writing process can be arduous and time consuming; it provokes self-doubt.
In his first interview since helping write the president's second inaugural address, Jon Favreau, director of speechwriting for the White House, acknowledged grappling with all these challenges. The speech, which Favreau said would probably be one of the last he will write in his current post, was praised as crisp, bold and assertive -– a standout in Obama's already rich canon of past addresses. But getting to that point was difficult.
"It was one of the hardest speeches I've written," Favreau said.
And he's written quite a few. Favreau has worked with Obama since 2005, helping his boss speak about his greatest triumphs, his public humiliations, dicey political topics and complex policy negotiations. The second inaugural address, an affirmation of sorts of the work they've done together, was conceived through a now familiar routine.
In his second inaugural address, President Obama made every effort to tie his political philosophy to the ideals and principles of the American Founding, even as he made clear how little he understands those ideals and principles. The gist of Obama’s speech was that only government can grant freedom. Or as he put it, “[W]e have always understood…that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
President Obama wants more government. In his second inaugural address, he masked the message with phrases like "collective action" and doing "things together." But these were stand-ins—euphemisms, really—for a bigger and more ambitious federal government. That's the unmistakable goal of his second term, and his inaugural address was devoted to his determination to achieve it.
President Barack Obama used his second inaugural address Monday to offer an aggressive, unapologetic defense of activist government and to call for a new spirit of unity even as he seeks to move the country even further left.
In an otherwise unmemorable second inaugural speech, I was struck by one sentence: "But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well."
The New York Times, which endorsed President Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, offers "condensed" Inaugural Address on its website. Titled, "The Eight-Minute Inaugural Address," the "condensed" version whacks off 60 percent of the speech, which the Times suggests is not worth reading.
The speech has been subjected to instant analysis and placed in proper historical context by, among others, Andrea Mitchell who thought it recalled Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" masterpiece. Others saw it as a call to arms for the progressive agenda. And so forth.
Barack Obama made clear in his Second Inaugural Address that responding to "climate change" will be a priority in the president's second term.
"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity," Obama declared. "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."