Ted Sorensen, fully Theodore Chalkin "Ted" Sorensen

Ted
Sorensen, fully Theodore Chalkin "Ted" Sorensen
1928
2010

Attorney, President John F. Kennedy’s Special Counsel, Presidential Adviser and Speechwriter, called his “Intellectual Blood Bank” by President Kennedy

Author Quotes

It was a feeling of hopelessness, of anger, of bitterness. That there was nothing we could do. There was nothing I could do.

We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.

John F. Kennedy was a natural leader. It was no act — the secret of his magic appeal was that he had no magic at all.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

Military strength in reserve is better than military strength being reigned upon the other side including all of its innocent civilians.

We have convinced over one billion members of the Islamic faith that we are prejudiced against their religion, that we would deny them freedom of religion, that we want suppress their culture and invade their governments.

Neither Kennedy nor any of us who worked with him were mythical characters who had magical powers, and we obviously had our share of mistakes.

We have treated our most serious adversaries, such as Iran and North Korea, in the most juvenile manner - by giving them the silent treatment. In so doing, we have weakened, not strengthened, our bargaining position and our leadership.

For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

Now people all across America are starting to believe in America again. We are coming back, back to the heights of greatness, back to America's proud role as a temple of justice and a champion of peace.

We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient — that we are only 6 percent of the world’s population — that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind — that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity — and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.

Four features of a good speech: 1. Clarity – achieved if you have a good outline. 2. Charity – praise the audience. 3. Brevity – JFK believed anything worth saying can be covered in a 20 minute speech. 4. Levity – as evidenced by Kennedy’s ironic wit.

Number one, that it is smart to communicate and negotiate with your enemy instead of just waging war with bombs and weapons of mass destruction.

We need not renounce the use of conventional force. We will be ready to repel any clear and present danger that poses a genuine threat to our national security and survival.

I approached each speech draft as if it might someday appear under Kennedy's name in a collection of the world's great speeches.

Our surest protection against assault from abroad has been not all our guards, gates and guns, or even our two oceans, but our essential goodness as a people. Our richest asset has been not our material wealth but our values.

We remain essentially a nation under siege.

I believe in an America in which the fruits of productivity and prosperity are shared by all, by workers as well as owners, by those at the bottom as well as those at the top; an America in which the sacrifices required by national security are shared by all, by profiteers in the back offices as well as volunteers on the front lines.

Presidential candidates don't chew gum.

We shall listen, not lecture; learn, not threaten. We will enhance our safety by earning the respect of others and showing respect for them. In short, our foreign policy will rest on the traditional American values of restraint and empathy, not on military might.

I still believe that the mildest and most obscure of Americans can be rescued from oblivion by good luck, sudden changes in fortune, sudden encounters with heroes. I believe it because I lived it.

Speechwriting really comes down to four words and five lines. The four words: brevity, levity, charity and clarity. Then the five lines are: 1: Outline. Absolutely indispensable, always the best place to start. 2: Headline. What do you want the headline to be? 3: Frontline. What's the most important point, what do you move up to the front? 4: Sideline. Put in a quotation from a poem, an allusion to history, a bit of eloquence or precedence from the past. 5: Bottom line. What is your conclusion?

We traveled together to all 50 states, most of them more than once, initially just the two of us.

I think Democrats made a mistake running away from liberalism. Liberalism, uh, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John and Robert Kennedy - that's what the Democratic party ought to reach for.

That's what I'm proudest of. Never had this country, this world, faced such great danger. You and I wouldn't be sitting here today if that had gone badly.

Author Picture
First Name
Ted
Last Name
Sorensen, fully Theodore Chalkin "Ted" Sorensen
Birth Date
1928
Death Date
2010
Bio

Attorney, President John F. Kennedy’s Special Counsel, Presidential Adviser and Speechwriter, called his “Intellectual Blood Bank” by President Kennedy