Ted Sorensen

TED SORENSEN…. The great Ted Sorensen died yesterday at the age of 82. He’d suffered a stroke a week ago, and passed away at a New York hospital.

Those familiar with his name likely think of Sorensen as John F. Kennedy’s legendary speechwriter, but he was far more than that. As the New York Times noted today, Sorensen was “a writer and counselor” who did much to shape JFK’s “narrative, image and legacy…. He was a political strategist and a trusted adviser on everything from election tactics to foreign policy.”

In light of his passing, the Washington Monthly has this online exclusive this afternoon:

Theodore C. Sorensen, who died yesterday at the age of 82, was America’s most celebrated presidential wordsmith and a friend of the Washington Monthly. As young special adviser to President John F. Kennedy, he helped establish the 35th president’s reputation as a great orator and political visionary — leading JFK to refer to Sorensen as his “intellectual blood bank.”

In 2007, we asked Sorensen to write the speech he would most want the next Democratic nominee to give at the party convention in Denver in August 2008. We requested that he proceed with no particular candidate in mind and that he give no consideration to expediency or tactics, but instead write the speech of his dreams. We ran the result as our cover story in July of that year.

Shortly thereafter, Sorensen was interviewed by Washington Monthly on the Radio hosts Markos Kounalakis and Peter Laufer. In that interview, which later appeared as a chapter in the book Hope is a Tattered Flag, Sorensen discussed the faux speech he wrote for us, and the real one he penned for JFK in 1960.

Take a look; it’s well worth checking out.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.