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, an 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 comprises 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

NPR's Michel Martin talks to Democratic speechwriter Paul Orzulak and former Republican speechwriter Mary Kate Cary about the political theater displayed at Friday's House Judiciary Committee hearing.
Mary Kate Cary NPR All Things Considered
Former President George H.W. Bush speechwriter Mary Kate Cary and former President Obama speechwriter Stephen Krupin talked about the preparation that goes into a president delivering the State of the Union address.
Mary Kate Cary C-SPAN
My guest today on RIGHT IN DC is Mary Kate Cary. She’s a dear friend of mine and also lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, as am I. Mary Kate is a senior fellow at the UVA Miller Center, a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, and is also a political commentator. She is the Executive Producer of the documentary “41 on 41” (President George H.W. Bush was President #41) which I had the honor to see at its premier. Mary Kate is an expert on Presidential communications and speech writing.
Mary Kate Cary Right in DC Podcast
Steve and Mary Kate bring in two experts (one from the left, one from the right) on the First Step Act, the most significant criminal justice reform legislation to be enacted in decades. Sakira Cook, Senior Counsel for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, explains what the law will actually do and which states are out in front on future reforms. Then Holly Harris, director of the Justice Action Network (once described as having “all the attributes of a Southern belle packing heat,”) describes how a remarkable coalition came together from both sides to get the bill over the finish line. Bonus: Holly’s tips for other groups pushing bipartisan progress on other big issues.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan
Practitioner Senior Fellow Mary Kate Cary joins MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about the legislative priorities for Democrats, divisions within the party, and how they plan to resolve the current shutdown.
Mary Kate Cary MPR News
Mary Kate is joined by her old friend, former Bush 41 speechwriter Ed McNally, for some great stories about their time writing for President George H.W. Bush. Listen as they reminisce about their first meeting with the new President and what he had to say about President Reagan’s oratory. The two speechwriters tell behind-the-scenes stories about writing stand-up comedy for him, working with him in his post-presidential years, and receiving handwritten notes from him throughout it all. Plus the time the two of them met Mikhail Gorbachev in a bar.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan