Why can't Huckabee just tell the truth? And why can't folks look at facts before believing words?
This entry was posted on 10/24/2007 3:13 PM and is filed under Huckabee shameful record, Presidential Candidates.
wednesday, October 24, 2007 9:22 AM CDT
Huckabee His Own Speechwriter? No
It was ... well, an interesting paragraph in Rich Lowry’s syndicated column about Mike Huckabee.
the editor of The National Review, touched on Huckabee’s dynamic
personality and rhetorical prowess. Personality has endeared the former
Arkansas governor to the national political press, he said, and his
rhetoric, while at times powerful and worthy of style points in the
campaign, is somewhat lacking in direction and substance.
But, here’s the paragraph — particularly the fourth sentence — that caught my eye:
almost no organization, Huckabee lives off his words. In oratorical
talent, he’s something of a cross between Billy Sunday and Ronald
Reagan. He rose to the leadership of the Arkansas State Baptist
Convention on his speaking ability. As governor, he didn’t have a
speechwriter, and there was no such thing as an advance text. His staff
got reporters copies of his annual state of the state addresses by
doing a quick transcription of his off-the-cuff remarks.”
speechwriter? I’m not sure where Lowry picked that up, but it was
something I had heard from the governor’s office over the years.
idea was that Huckabee, a gifted speaker, was different from other
politicians; he knew what he wanted to say and how to say it, which
meant that he wouldn’t require the services of a “speechwriter.” It was
a point of pride, a line often repeated by his staff and even by
Huckabee from time to time. The problem is that it is completely false.
Monday, I e-mailed one of Huckabee’s campaign press aides to ask if the
campaign and/or Huckabee was claiming that he never had a speechwriter
or speechwriters while governor. And, if so, what exactly did several
former staff members who filled the post of speechwriter — some in
practice and others with the title — actually do?
Dan Greenberg, R-Little Rock, was with Huckabee in the early years and
wrote prepared texts and numerous talking points. Steve Brawner, who
later served as a press aide to the late Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller, did
the same thing.
Douglas Baker was added to Huckabee’s
gubernatorial staff for the expressed purpose of helping shape message,
where he — you guessed it — wrote speeches. Baker recently graduated
from Johns Hopkins University with an advanced degree and now lives in
Washington, where he works as a freelance communications professional.
Hayes held the title “special assistant to the governor” and spent much
of his time drafting speeches. Hayes is now living in Phoenix, where he
works as a corporate communications executive and speechwriter for one
of the country’s largest utilities.
Chris Pyle left his post as
the governor’s family policy adviser to write speeches and was allowed
to use the title speechwriter. He is now a governmental affairs
professional with Delta Dental.
Keith Peterson also carried the
title of gubernatorial speechwriter. He left the governor’s staff to
work for the state Department of Workforce Education, where last April,
in its internal newsletter, the department said Peterson “started his
career teaching speech on the college level. That path led him to the
Governor’s Office, where he wrote speeches for Gov. Mike Huckabee.”
At this writing, there has been no response from the campaign.
is a possibility that Lowry wrote the line about Huckabee’s
speechwriter-less staff after reviewing old press clips, but it is also
completely possible that an overzealous campaign aide, caught up in the
moment, threw the line out to attempt to make Huckabee out to be
something of a polymath.
The truth is that while Huckabee was
governor, he was served by many talented and accomplished
speechwriters. After reading Lowry, it’s clear he thinks the popular
presidential candidate could use more rhetorical direction and
substance from the likes of them.