Native New Yorker David Litt was politically aware enough in college to volunteer for Barack Obama’s first Presidential campaign. Then he moved to Washington, D.C. and tried to get a job after graduation. After an internship, he networked himself into Obama’s White House as a speechwriter for Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President.
This also meant that he started as a junior junior speechwriter for President Obama. And as time progressed, Litt was working on mostly Obama speeches, including running the team that produced his last few Correspondents’ Dinner routines.
Litt has a humorous and self-deprecating writing style. He also focuses primarily on his work responsibilities, rather than his personal life during this time. Seeing the Obama White House through another lens is always interesting to me. After also reading Beck Dorey-Stein’s memoir, it’s clear that the Obama administration had plenty of young talent in house.
Life in Washington is high-intensity, with long days at the office and constant dings from the BlackBerry. But Litt makes it relatable too, talking about cafeterias, the senior staff gym, and parking closer as he gained seniority. He’s also quick to share his all-to-regular nervous gaffes.
For every heavy D.C.-related memoir or history, I need to read something like Litt’s memoir. The smart thinking and logical decisions that we took for granted once feel so nostalgic now. Litt does an admirable job of balancing his own star struck feelings with the growing competence he gains through the years he spends in White House communications.
I had the opportunity to hear Litt speak with Dorey-Stein last fall at an author event. His writing style is just as conversational as that event. And did I mention that he’s funny? Give this one a go if you need a break from today’s headlines.