Top Bush Speech Writer Resigns

ByABC News via logo
June 25, 2006, 9:14 AM

June 25, 2006 — -- Few people have enjoyed the same access to President George W. Bush's mind as his head speech writer of seven years, Michael Gerson. He is the latest of the administration's top aides to resign, but is proud of the work he did while in the White House.

Named one of Time magazine's 25 most influential evangelical Christians, the Bush administration said Gerson is leaving for new career options.

"There's no way to replace him," top presidential advisor Karl Rove told The New York Times. "He is a once-in-a-generation. He helped take the president on his best day and represent what was in the president's spirit and soul."

Gerson, 42, is responsible for writing some of the most famous words Bush has uttered. He is rumored to be the man behind the famous phrase "Axis of Evil," referring to Iraq, Iran and North Korea. But some of the most famous and moving of Bush's speeches came in the wake of 9/11.

"This generation will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future," the president said in an address to a joint session of Congress after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail."

"I'd been a writer for many years, and it really proved that sometimes in some circumstances, the words really do matter," Gerson said. "I am proud of what we were able to do. It rallied the country at the same time as it comforted the country."

Gerson said he worked on those lines with the president, who he said is very involved in the speech writing process and frequently writes notes in the margins and makes many edits. Gerson said that the speech was critical because they had to "show the American people a way forward and a new era."

On a major speech, Gerson said the president wants an early outline so he can evaluate it and make comments. He is invested in the message early on in the process, Gerson said.