Miller Center

Aram Bakshian, Jr.

Speaker: Aram Bakshian, Jr.
Date: January 14, 2002

Aram Bakshian gives his perspective on the Reagan administration's speechwriting office, and Reagan's deep involvement in the speechwriting process. Bakshian begins by discussing his entry into politics in 1966 as a speechwriter for Congressman Bill Brock, then traces his political career from writing for Bob Dole during his stint as Chairman of the Republican National Committee to serving in the speechwriting offices of the Nixon and Ford administrations. Most of the interview is devoted to Bakshian's three-year service in the Reagan White House, first in the Office of Public Liaison, then as Director of Speechwriting from 1981 to 1982. He details the process of managing the speechwriting effort and constructing presidential addresses, including lengthy accounts of major speeches such as "zero-option," "Evil Empire," and the June 1982 speech to the British Parliament. Bakshian also offers an intimate portrait of Reagan's role in crafting his own speeches, and credits Reagan with being the greatest public speaker he's ever encountered in politics.