Presidential speechwriters speak for themselves

After years of working in the background, the Washington wordsmiths who crafted presidential addresses will emerge from the shadows later this week. White House speechwriters from Nixon through Clinton administrations will gather at a symposium hosted by the Miller Center of Public Affairs on Friday and Saturday.

The former speechwriters, who have moved on to careers as authors, political activists, and consultants, party insiders and journalists, will discuss White House communications. Panel session topics will be the major presidential addresses, including the Convention Acceptance Speech, the State of the Union, and the Inaugural Address.

Panelists include Nixon chief speechwriter Ray Price, who worked on both of Nixon's inaugural addresses, his resignation speech, and Gerald Ford's pardon speech. Clinton director of speechwriting Terry Edmonds, the first African-American to hold the White House position, will also be speaking.

While attendance for the June 20 and 21 events is by invitation only because of limited space, according to a Miller Center press release, the events will be webcast live.