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Ted Sorensen, Speechwriter For JFK, Dies At 82

Ted Sorensen, who as speechwriter for President Kennedy was responsible for some of his most famous speeches, died today at aged 82 in New York. From the New York Times:

True, he was best known for working with Mr. Kennedy on passages of soaring rhetoric, including the 1961 inaugural address proclaiming that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans” and challenging citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Mr. Sorensen drew on the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and the words of Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill as he helped hone and polish that speech.

But Mr. Sorensen was more than Mr. Kennedy’s ghost-writer. “You need a mind like Sorensen’s around you that’s clicking and clicking all the time,” President Kennedy’s archrival, Richard M. Nixon, said in 1962. He said Mr. Sorensen had “a rare gift:” the knack of finding phrases that penetrated the American psyche.

First hired as a researcher by Mr. Kennedy, a newly elected senator from Massachusetts who took office in 1953, Mr. Sorensen became a political strategist and a trusted adviser on everything from election tactics to foreign policy. He collaborated closely — more closely than

most knew — on “Profiles in Courage,” the 1956 book that won Mr. Kennedy a Pulitzer Prize and a national audience.

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