A Conversation with Cody Keenan, Author, ‘Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America’



Join Michael in his discussion with Cody Keenan as they discuss his book, Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America.  The book recounts the most remarkable eulogy delivered by President Obama in Charleston, South Carolina after the hate crime murders of Reverend Pickney and eight parishioners in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.


Cody Keenan

Cody Keenan rose from a campaign intern in Chicago and deputy pirate to become chief speechwriter at the White House and Barack Obama’s post-presidential collaborator. He’s been named the “Springsteen” of the Obama White House, even though he can’t play an instrument, and Obama calls him “Hemingway” for reasons that have little to do with his talent or seasonal beard (ask him sometime). Even British GQ once named Cody one of the “35 Coolest Men under 38 (and a Half),” ahead of Ryan Gosling, but behind Tom Hardy.

n truth, Cody is more comfortable behind the scenes, helping to shape the stories of our time. He got his start as a young aide to the legendary senator Edward M. Kennedy before earning a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A sought-after expert on politics, messaging, and current affairs, he is now a partner at leading speechwriting firm Fenway Strategies and teaches a popular course on political speechwriting to undergraduates at his alma mater Northwestern University. 

Born in Wrigleyville, Cody finally got to write his dream speech just four days before Obama left office—one welcoming the World Champion Chicago Cubs to the White House. To his wife Kristen’s enduring embarrassment, their White House courtship was documented on CNN. Today, they live in New York City with their daughter, Grace.


Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelzeldin

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