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Meet the Speechwriter Behind Obama's Best Jokes
Stories 544K Followers 257 Videos 87.12M Total Views 2016-10-20 PublishedData Updated on 2022-05-11
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Politics obama rituals david litt speech speechwriting trump clinton white house white house correspondents dinner seeker seeker stories laura ling rituals with laura ling That Hopey Changey Thing barack obama election
Watch the next video to hear David Litt analyze Trump and Clinton's different speech styles:

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At just 24 years old, David Litt became a speechwriter at the White House. Landing such a prestigious job when you've just barely graduated college is pretty impressive, but ironically, Litt never intended to work in politics.

"I was on a plane and we had just began our initial descent," Litt told Seeker's Laura Ling. "And I was channel-surfing on the free airplane cable and I saw this candidate who I had heard of but didn't know a lot about named Barack Obama. By the time that speech was over I was like, 'Never mind, whatever he is doing, I want to be part of that.'"

Litt wasn't just inspired by Obama, he was filled with hope in a way he'd never experienced before. He desperately wanted to be part of the change that this charismatic presidential candidate kept going on about. After moving to Washington D.C. in 2009, Litt began working for a private firm specializing in speech writing. Then in 2011, the job offer at the White House materialized.

"You have to realize how high the stakes are," said Litt. "We would write speeches knowing that there are people whose full-time job is to pick apart every single word the President says, and sometimes just to take things out of context, and that can be incredibly intimidating."

Litt left the White House in 2015. He’s currently working on a book about his experience, entitled “That Hopey, Changey Thing,” which will be published by Ecco Press in 2017. Litt now puts his comedy skills to good use as a head writer and producer for Funny or Die.

Executive Producer: Laura Ling
Producer: Paige Hansen
Cinematographers: Matthew Piniol, Spencer Snider
Editor: Jordan Dertinger