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

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
The more I wrote for him, the more I learned his style. He didn’t like to talk about himself much. If we used the word “I” too much he’d circle it, to mean “too many.” He felt that in a democracy the President should use the word “We.” That’s probably why he was generally extremely reticent to talk about his World War II experience.
Mary Kate Cary TIME
As with the sea that he loved so much, there was a wideness to the life of George Bush, who died Friday at 94. He was always broadening the circle, casting the net as far as he could to draw others into it. He loved to be with people, and they loved to be with him. It was always hard to leave him.
Mary Kate Cary USA Today
Mary Kate continues her conversations on what Congress and the press can do to help end partisan gridlock — with former WH legislative affairs directors Dan Meyer (Bush 43) and Marc Short (Trump); former Democratic Congressman LF Payne; and Politico Playbook’s Daniel Lippman, and NPR’s Ron Elving. Plenty of real-life ideas for improving the atmosphere in DC — from campaign messaging for 2020, writing headlines and tweeting, setting the incoming Congress’s agenda, bringing back earmarks, even deciding where to eat lunch on Capitol Hill. Smart ideas from insiders who know.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan
In a Bipodisan two-fer, Mary Kate interviews VIPs interested in ending partisan gridlock at a Miller Center conference at the unexpectedly hip home of James Madison. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin outlines the decline of political parties and rise of ideological “rock stars.” She argues that the loss of pay-as-you-go rules is driving polarization, and gives her prediction for the first bill to be introduced in the new Democratic House. Then UVA Professor Jennifer Lawless and Hoover Institution Fellow and Stanford Professor David Brady talk about surprising polling on whom you’d want your child to marry, and whether there’s room for a third party in America. The three discuss current ideas for reform: redistricting, ranked voting primaries, open primaries, and bringing back earmarks. Plus a favorite clip from SNL. Stay tuned for even more great ideas next week.
Mary Kate Cary Bipodisan
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