Ed Driscoll

What A Difference Six Months Makes

James Taranto corrects a moment in the election timeline:

Remember Barack Obama’s big race speech back in March, the one that invited comparisons to Lincoln? Neither does anyone else, but it seemed like a big deal at the time. On March 18 The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder did a short item called “Speechwriter of One” (quoting verbatim):

This wasn’t a speech by committee… Obama wrote the speech himself, working on it for two days and nights…. and showed it to only a few of his top advisers.

This now appears to have been puffery, at least if the Washington Post has the story right:

One Saturday night in March, Obama called [Jon] Favreau and said he wanted to immediately deliver a speech about race. He dictated his unscripted thoughts to Favreau over the phone for 30 minutes–“It would have been a great speech right then,” Favreau said–and then asked him to clean it up and write a draft. Favreau put it together, and Obama spent two nights retooling before delivering the address in Philadelphia the following Tuesday.

“So,” Obama told Favreau afterward. “I think that worked.”

Favreau is the 27-year-old Obama speechwriter best known for a party photo in which he pretends to grope the right breast of a life-size cardboard cutout depicting New York’s junior senator. Harmless frat-boy antics, to be sure, but it does make all the solemn praise Obama got for that race speech all the more hilarious.