Jeff Shesol


Jeff Shesol is a founding partner of West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and communications strategy firm, and is author of the new, critically-acclaimed book, Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. The Supreme Court, which Doris Kearns Goodwin has called a “groundbreaking” and “stunning work of history,” the kind that comes along “once in a generation.” Jeff is an accidental speechwriter. In 1997, President Clinton read Mutual Contempt, Jeff’s book on the Lyndon Johnson-Robert Kennedy feud, and invited Jeff to become a White House speechwriter. Jeff, at that point, had written exactly one political speech in his life: nearly a decade earlier, as a Capitol Hill intern, he had drafted a tribute to America’s nurses.

During his three years at the White House, Jeff became the Deputy Chief of Presidential Speechwriting, a member of the senior staff. He had a lead role in drafting two State of the Union addresses, the President’s 2000 convention speech, and the Farewell Address. He covered a range of issues -- from economic policy to global health, information technology, the federal budget, and the arts. He also helped lead the President's team of humor writers — a team that produced the Clinton comedy video, “The Final Days.”

Before he became a speechwriter, Jeff wrote and drew a syndicated comic strip, “Thatch,” which appeared daily in more than 150 newspapers. His book, “Mutual Contempt," was a New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Critic’s Choice. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., called it “the most gripping political book of recent years.” Jeff continues to publish widely under his own byline, and appears frequently on television and radio.

A Rhodes Scholar, Jeff got his masters in history from Oxford University in 1993 and graduated from Brown University in 1991. He was the 2002 Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies at Princeton University, where he taught a course on the history of the presidential speech. Jeff lives in Washington with his wife, Rebecca – a civil rights attorney – and their two children.

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