From "Ask not ..." to "Yes we can"

JFK's speechwriter to speak Tuesday on what makes inaugural addresses great

WALTHAM, Mass. — Theodore C. (Ted) Sorensen, who as special counsel and chief speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy helped produce one of the most memorable inaugural addresses in American history, comes to campus to discuss his career, the inaugural addresses of Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton, and how Obama might best introduce his presidency to the world.

Sorensen’s talk will be delivered beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, in the theater of the Shapiro Campus Center. Professor of Afro-American Studies Peniel Joseph will offer a response.
JFK’s inaugural address, delivered in 1961, introduced a new American vision of the world, notably through its ringing challenge to "ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."

Sorensen was an early supporter of Barack Obama. He is chair of the Advisory Board to Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, which is cosponsoring the event with the Brandeis Student Union and GenEd Now.

Download the event flyer (PDF)

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