// THE WRITE STUFF

WITH A NEW MEM­OIR OUT ABOUT THE OBAMA YEARS, SPEECH­WRITER DAVID LITT TALKS ABOUT ADULT­ING AT 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AV­ENUE.

Capitol File - - CONTENTS - BY MARISSA MITROVICH

With a new mem­oir out about the Obama years, speech­writer David

At age 24, David Litt be­came one of the youngest White House speech­writ­ers in his­tory. In Thanks, Obama (HarperCollins; $28), due out Septem­ber 19, Litt shares what it’s like to come of age in Wash­ing­ton while si­mul­ta­ne­ously writ­ing speeches for the Leader of the Free World.

Why the ti­tle Thanks, Obama?

Thanks, Obama started off as a joke, but be­came some­thing a lot of peo­ple feel se­ri­ously. While the book has plenty of laugh out loud mo­ments, it also ended up be­ing about why the work we did in the White House mat­tered. What is an ex­am­ple of a “Thanks, Obama” mo­ment?

When my girl­friend, who is now my fi­ancé, wasn’t in­sured and we had to go on health­care.gov, which at the time was a mess. In the book I talk about how an­noy­ing the web­site was but also the in­cred­i­ble re­lief that came from know­ing she ac­tu­ally had cov­er­age. How did you end up in the Oval Of­fice?

Al­most ev­ery speech­writer, my­self in­cluded, kind of falls bass ack­wards into speech­writ­ing. One of the things I learned about speech­writ­ers is that you don’t get to script what any­one is go­ing to say. You get to do your best to help them sound like they would sound if they had the time to write the speech them­selves. That was eye-open­ing to me. It made me more con­fi­dent in the po­lit­i­cal process. What is one crazy, amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that you can share? There was a time I mis­took Justin Tim­ber­lake for an in­tern.

David Litt, seen here work­ing with Pres­i­dent Obama, be­came a White House speech­writer at only 24.

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