Behind the Scenes: Sneak Preview of State of the Union Speech

Jan 24, 2012 1:59pm

Hoping to build up some excitement for the president’s speech – and provide TV networks and cable channels footage so irresistible its propaganda value is discounted – the White House today released a behind-the-scenes video showing President Obama working on his speech.

The video includes speechwriters Jon Favreau and Cody Keenan in the Oval Office  talking with the president, and shows close-ups of the president’s handwritten edits on the page, and moments with Favreau, Keenan and assorted top White House aides. It offers an explanation by an assistant speechwriter of the Lenny Skutniks* in the gallery….

It’s very “West Wing” in a West Wing “West Wing” way.

-Jake Tapper

*In January 1982, Martin Leonard “Lenny” Skutnik III dove into the Potomac River to save the life of a passenger of Air Florida Flight 90, which had crashed. President Ronald Reagan mentioned Skutnik in the State of the Union address, and gave him a seat of honor in the gallery during the speech. From then on, those Americans picked for that honor have been called “Lenny Skutniks.” Last year, for example, the college student credited with helping to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Daniel Hernandez, was one of President Obama’s Lenny Skutniks.

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