The best lines you ever got through the speaker’s mouth

Veteran scribe Doug Garr responded to a Vital Speeches query asking speechwriters for the best line they ever wrote that actually made it through the approval process and out the loud speakers.

He came back with this anecdote, from his days as an economic speechwriter for former New York Governor Mario Cuomo in his last administration, from 1992-1994:

Of the five speechwriters in his office, we knew that we were mostly “packing his parachute,” as one liked to put it. We went through lots of drafts and MMC always rewrote, danced off the page and improvised, often brilliantly, as he was wont to do.  

One line I wrote he continued to use in different forms: He complained to me once that State government doesn’t have the visibility of the federal and local governments, which are covered in much more detail by the national and local press. After a long conversation, I responded, “State government only occurs to people when they need it or it fails them.”

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