Author Archives: Podium Pundits Editor

How To Win A Standing Ovation: An Analysis

Our friend Max Atkinson has begun a new series discussing his research of which techniques speakers use to arouse applause from their audiences. He broke new ground in the mid 1980s after he analyzed dozens of famous politicians and identified various “claptraps.” A claptrap is a trick, device or language designed to catch applause. He […]

Max Atkinson on Joe Biden’s Ted Kennedy tribute

An excerpt of our friend Max Atkinson’s take on Joe Biden’s Ted Kennedy tribute: Of the all the tributes to Edward Kennedy I’ve heard over the past couple of days, the one that stood out for me came from Vice-president Joe Biden. A bit long, maybe, but there were moments of genuine sincerity that could […]

Is Obama overexposed?

Over at, a self-described PR professional named Crystal Wright reviews three problems she sees with President Obama’s PR record while in office.  Here’s a sample: The president’s single biggest PR mistake is his over-exposure in the media. When anyone talks too much, president or celebrity, people just get tired of listening to that person. […]

Sound Bites Versus Truth

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is by Tom Daly, editor of Vital Speeches of the Day. I was recently made aware by way of an excellent speech in the June issue of Vital Speeches of the Day, that we are slowly but surely leaving the sound bite era. The speech was by former George H.W. […]

The Message Is The Message

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is by Philip Murphy, a corporate communications executive at a Fortune 100 company. Good news for English majors. Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, gave an interview for the New York Times’ Corner Office column recently and said what most of us have felt deep inside – the […]

Job Opportunity

The White House Writers Group is hiring. Here’s the write-up: A small D.C. communications/PR firm, founded by Republicans, is looking for an entry level associate who is creative, a self starter and good at multi-tasking. A well qualified applicant will be able to handle reporting to multiple people within the firm and juggling several projects […]

The Truth Works

By Thomas Daly, Guest Contributor It was so refreshing to hear the president yesterday. No big press conference, no convoluted statement just when talking about the Tom Daschle appointment for health secretary in an interview he said, “I screwed up”. I was so excited by this. Not by the fact that he “screwed up.” But […]

Tactless in America?

By Max Atkinson, Guest Contributor The point I was making that Clark Judge has responded to was not that the UK had a better or older version of democracy than the USA, but that American claims to democratic superiority come across as a bit tactless to some of its closest allies. His suggestion that it […]

Welcome to Podium Pundits

The goal of Podium Pundits is to bring together former presidential speechwriters from both Democratic and Republican administrations to analyze major speeches and messaging strategy. The initial contributors to the blog will come from the White House Writers Group (WHWG) and the West Wing Writers (WWW). WHWG was founded by former Reagan and Bush 41 […]