Ted Sorensen, Kennedy Speechwriter, Dies

Monday, November 01, 2010

President John F. Kennedy's aide, close confidant, and long-time speechwriter, Theodore C. Sorensen, has died at the age of 82.  Sorenson's wife, Gillian, said her husband died Sunday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, of complications from a recent stroke.

She said Sorenson remained a tireless advocate for progressive causes all his life.

"His interest in political life and issues of justice and human rights and freedom and so on never, never diminished," she said.

Sorensen's passing came just as supporters of his boss — and friend — were preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's election.

Sorensen first went to work for Kennedy when Kennedy became a Massachusetts senator and remained a member of his staff until Kennedy's assasination in 1963. Sorensen has since advised presidents and leaders around the world, including Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Anwar Sadat of Egypt.

His inaugural speech for the president in 1961 became the most enduring collaboration between Sorensen and Kennedy. The address is perhaps best remembered for its now famous line, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

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