Miller Center

Interview with Kenneth Khachigian

Introduction

Photo of Khachigian, Kenneth

Ken Khachigian, the author of some of the most memorable lines spoken by the man dubbed The Great Communicator, describes his service as one of President Reagan's key speechwriters. Khachigian first recounts his entry into politics during the Nixon years, where he served in the communications and speechwriting offices, and later assisting Nixon in writing his memoir. He spends the bulk of the interview discussing his tenure from January to September 1981 as Chief Speechwriter for President Reagan, and his periodic returns throughout the remainder of the administration to craft speeches for specific events. He offers an insider's perspective on the organization of the speechwriting office and the process of developing a final draft for the president. He details his work on several key speeches, including the First Inaugural Address, the Economic Recovery Program speech, the address at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and his joint address with Nancy Reagan on the campaign against drug abuse. Khachigian also speaks about his role in the 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns for Reagan, and the 1988 campaign for Vice President Bush.

Copyright 2005 The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. Publicly released transcripts of the Ronald Reagan Oral History Project are freely available for non-commercial use according to the Fair Use provisions of the United States Copyright Code and International Copyright Law. Advance written permission is required for reproduction, redistribution, and extensive quotation or excerpting. Permission requests should be made to the Miller Center, P.O. Box 400406, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4406

Transcript

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