Author Archives: Vinca LaFleur (WWW)

When President Bill Clinton visited Northern Ireland in November 1995, Vinca LaFleur helped him find the words to inspire new hope for peace. The Financial Times entitled its commentary on the president’s speeches “Ciceronian Clinton”; the Times of London called his Belfast Mackie plant address “one of the finest” of his presidency; and the Guardian newspaper advised the British prime minister to “hire that man’s speechwriter.”

Working at the White House combined two of Vinca’s passions: writing and international relations. During her three years as a foreign policy speechwriter and special assistant for national security affairs, she accompanied President Clinton to Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Previously, she wrote speeches for Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and before that served as a human rights analyst for the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Since leaving the White House, Vinca has written and edited speeches, articles, books, and reports for corporate executives, former senior government officials, royalty, prominent think tanks, and public figures. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she also has published under her own name on issues from poverty to communications, and served as a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Additionally, Vinca is a sought-after educator on the art and craft of speechwriting, and has conducted workshops for business, government, and university audiences in the United States and abroad.

Vinca graduated summa cum laude from Yale and holds a master’s from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She and her husband, scientist David LaFleur, live in Washington with their two children.

Tear Down This Wall

The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has prompted a number of articles and reflections about President Reagan’s historic 1987 speech.  Needless to say, Clark is the true expert on the issue — but I wanted to link Tony Dolan’s recent piece from the Wall Street Journal, reminiscing about the speechwriters’ full […]

Sunday Funnies

Funny people, people who appreciate funny people, people who wonder how funny people got so funny — check out my colleague Jeff Nussbaum’s review of “And Here’s the Kicker” in today’s Washington Post. A preview: “When Al Gore was vice president and saw on his schedule that he would have to speak at an event […]

Call Hate By Its Name

One of West Wing Writers’ founders, Tom Rosshirt, has a thoughtful piece in the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend, entitled “Making Hatred a Virtue.”  Tom argues that the spread of hatred is the greatest danger to society, and that the most alarming development today is not the rise of hateful ideas, but the silence, acquiescence, […]

Make ‘Em Laugh

My colleague Jeff Nussbaum was quoted in a piece in this morning’s New York Times, regarding late night comics’ increasing willingness to poke fun at the president.  Exhibit A:  Jay Leno calls Obama’s Nobel Preace Prize his biggest accomplishment as president so far. Key passages below: …from the outset, Mr. Obama has been praised as […]


From West Wing Writers associate David Litt: Here’s a link to the New York Times online “Opinionator” feature, where West Wing Writers’ Jeff Shesol blogs about the demands of the 24-hour news cycle and the idea of presidential “overexposure.”

Fire the Speechwriters?

I’d be interested to know what Ed and others think of Matt Latimer’s piece in yesterday’s Washington Post — “A Speechwriter’s Tip for Obama: Silence is Golden.” His overarching thesis, as others have argued as well, is that too much presidential airtime ultimately devalues the currency of the presidential word; that if Americans are seeing […]

A Chill Pill? LOL.

Proving David Hannum right on the sucker born every minute front, check out this website for Bravina, a self-described “special blend of nine natural supplements” that “will help prepare you to execute an articulate public presentation.”  For a mere $19.95, you too can have six tablet-sized amalgams of passiflora, motherwort, St. John’s wort, ashwagandha, Valerian […]

Speechwriters Talk

Earlier this summer, Ed, Jeff, Clark, and I had the pleasure of lunching with the editors of Politics magazine.  Check out  highlights of our conversation in the current issue, here, including war stories from the Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations; views on the rise of the celebrity speechwriter; and perspectives on the changes we’ve seen […]

Women Seen and Heard

Forbes’ latest list of the world’s 100 most powerful women is out, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on top, FDIC  hero Sheila Bair at #2, and “performance with purpose” Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi at #3. Women to watch include Ursula Burns of Xerox, Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, Johanna Sigurdardottir of Iceland, and Sallie Krawchek […]

Hints on Humor

Hints on humor, from my West Wing colleague Julia Lam: The Washington Post is shuttering “Mouthpiece Theater,” Howard Kurtz recently announced. In this past week, the satirical video series featuring Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza drew criticism over an indecorous Hillary Clinton joke.  In retrospect, Cillizza said, “name-calling is never the stuff of good comedy.” […]

The Power of Profanity

A minor scandal erupted in the UK last week when aspiring Tory prime minister David Cameron used some obscenities in a “jokey, blokey” radio interview.  Worse than the vulgarity, for which Cameron immediately apologized, some critics suspected a calculated ploy — that he got “sweary,” as one blogger put it, to boost his cool-factor with […]

The Making of the Cairo Speech

Interesting piece by Christi Parsons in the LA Times, describing the drafting process for President Obama’s landmark speech in Cairo this past June.  Here’s how it begins: “Reporting from Washington — He sat with his legs crossed in an armchair in the Oval Office, his brow furrowed. Aides clustered on the couches around him. They […]


As the Wall Street Journal reports today, “The president’s plan to toss back a few cold ones with some high-profile guests at the White House has the American beer industry hopping mad.”  Why?  Because the beers on tap — or at least in the presidential fridge — are supposedly Red Stripe, Blue Moon, and Bud […]

Look to Norway

In 1942, FDR gave a speech remembered for its peroration:  “Look to Norway!”  Today, as the United States tries to right our economic wreckage, we might well heed that counsel again. Check out this piece from NPR this morning, which describes how Norway has not only survived but thrived during the current recession.  To be […]

Shop Talk

Clark Judge, Ed Walsh, Jeff Nussbaum and I recently had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with the editors of Politics magazine (formerly known as Campaigns and Elections) for a lively, on-the-record discussion for the magazine’s “Shop Talk” section. We’ll post a link to that article when it comes out in a month or […]