Mary Kate Cary

Practitioner Senior Fellow

Fast Facts

  • Former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush
  • Provides political commentary for NPR, CNN, Fox News Channel, and CTV (Canada)
  • Executive producer of 41ON41, a documentary about President George H.W. Bush
  • Expertise on presidential communications, speechwriting

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Media and the Press
  • Governance
  • Elections
  • Leadership
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Mary Kate Cary, Anne C. Strickler Practitioner Senior Fellow, served as a White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to early 1992, authoring more than 100 of his presidential addresses. She also has ghostwritten several books related to President Bush’s life and career and served as senior writer for communications for the 1988 Bush-Quayle presidential campaign.

Today, Cary is asked to write speeches, presentations, and reports for a variety of national political, corporate, and nonprofit leaders. Her assignments have included State of the Union responses, Republican National Convention addresses, and TED talks. She served as founding managing editor of the daily political news service The Hotline, as a staffer at ABC News’ This Week with David Brinkley, and as a columnist at U.S. News & World Report.

Following her tenure at the White House, Cary served as spokesman and deputy director of policy and communications for U.S. Attorney General William Barr and deputy director of communications at the Republican National Committee under Chairman Haley Barbour. She has been a member of the Judson Welliver Society, which is comprised of former White House speechwriters from both parties. She is also a member of the Jeane Kirkpatrick Society, a group of female writers and columnists in Washington, D.C.

Cary is the executive producer of 41ON41, a documentary film about President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. 

Mary Kate Cary News Feed

Mary Kate and Steve Krupin, a former Obama speechwriter, tell fascinating behind-the-scenes stories from past election nights as former campaign staffers. The two writers forgo any sort of “quant” election analysis and instead review the President’s wild ride of a press conference the morning after the midterms; give their take on the biggest election results; and finally, share a few of the most inspiring — and most ridiculous — campaign ads of the midterms.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan
"The next president is going to have to be on Twitter, is going to have to be on social media," panelist Mary Kate Cary said. "I don't see how you put that genie back in the bottle."
Mary Kate Cary Chattanooga Times Free Press
Mary Kate is joined by Steve Krupin, former speechwriter for President Obama, for a smart discussion about this week’s attempted bombings and the blazing-hot political rhetoric leading up to the midterms. After jumping from Cicero to Nixon to Trump, the two move on to interview Stephen Hawkins of More in Common, which just published a report on tribalism in America. Learn about the seven tribes in American politics and why the largest one — the Exhausted Majority — is afraid to speak freely. Hear Hawkins’ take on his favorite hidden gem in the report, before all three swap ideas for lowering the heat in politics these days — from tech companies to nonprofits to parents. Plus what’s making Steve and Mary Kate hopeful in an especially difficult week.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan
The midterm elections are just five weeks away, so now we want to consider how the drama surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination could influence those midterms. We called David Axelrod and Mary Kate Cary for that. Mary Kate Cary was a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. She's now a senior fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. David Axelrod was a campaign strategist and White House adviser to President Barack Obama. Now he's director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.
Mary Kate Cary NPR All Things Considered
Chris Lu (Mary Kate’s fellow Senior Fellow at the Miller Center and a big cheese in the Obama Administration) joins Bipodisan this week in a special Hurricane edition from Chatter Bar. The two analyze the President’s “A++” and “unsung success” tweets, his remarks on 9/11, and their four-legged tip for personalizing the First Family. Then the two interview Elise Bean and Justin Rood of the bipartisan Oversight Boot Camp on Capitol Hill, which trains staffers from both parties in both the House and Senate to run committee investigations to be something other than Partisan Witch Hunts between the two parties. Plus, the bromance between 44 and Senator Coburn, happy hours for staffers, and fake scandals.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan
Kyle O’Connor, former speechwriter for President Obama, joins Mary Kate this week to share stories about what it’s like to be young speechwriters at the White House, and which college experience — other than drinking heavily — best prepared them for the job. The two compare watching the McCain funeral on YouTube (Kyle) and in audience at the National Cathedral (Mary Kate), pick their favorite eulogies, and analyze the opening statements at the Kavanaugh hearings. Spoiler alert: like everyone else in Washington, they deny writing the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed. Unlike everyone else in Washington, they have some interesting takes on the whodunnit.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan