Former Kennedy Adviser Sorensen Dies At 82

Theodore Sorensen, top adviser to and speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy, died Saturday in New York City at age 82. Sorensen was on JFK's Senate staff in the 1950s,  and the two established a close bond. Sorensen described his 11 years of working with Kennedy as "a collaborative process."

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And next, let's remember a man whose voice echoed beyond a campaign and throughout a presidency. Ted Sorensen died yesterday. He provided advice, strategy and words for President John F. Kennedy. Sorensen played a big role in writing Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Profiles In Courage." He also crafted a letter to the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev that is credited with helping to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sorensen considered those words his greatest achievement. He is also associated with these words.

President JOHN F. KENNEDY: And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

INSKEEP: That's from Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961. Decades later, our own Scott Simon asked the speechwriter who really wrote that famous line.

Mr. TED SORENSEN (Speechwriter): I wouldn't remember, now, who provided one word or one line, but John F. Kennedy was the author of his inaugural address because he's the man who made the decisions on what policies and values to enunciate.

INSKEEP: Before his death, at age 82, Ted Sorensen lived to see Kennedy's inaugural address become the standard for presidents who followed.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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