Episode 9: Eli Attie – “A Contsituency of One”

Episode 9

22nd April 2019

Eli Attie gives us some great insight into what makes for good and bad political speech writing, and how it dovetails and differs with dramatic writing.

Episode notes

Episode 9: Eli Attie –  “A Constituency of One”

This episode, we’re talking to Eli Attie – speechwriter for NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt, and Vice President Al Gore; AS WELL AS a writer for the West Wing, House, Rosewood, For the People, and others! He gives us some great insight into what makes for good and bad political speech writing, and how it dovetails and differs with dramatic writing.

The overarching theme of the episode is the “constituency of one” – who is your actual audience, who are you trying to please… Something we’ve all become a lot more familiar with in the political realm these past two years.

A couple of other things that get mentioned that I just want to address really quickly:
1. My Medicare plan would not suck.
2. It’s not that hard for ME to see Aimee converting to Catholicism.
3. It’s true – Air Force 2 IS, in fact, a tiny fraction of the size of Air Force 1, AND, apparently, there’s no booze served on it!

I also really wanted to include some examples of the speeches Eli’s worked on, but it’s frustratingly hard to find anything by former Mayor of New York City, David Dinkins, NYC’s first and only black mayor, from his time in office (the time of Eli’s tenure as speechwriter), but I did find a video of election night coverage, that adds a lot of context and includes his concession speech, which you can find at around the 24:00 minute mark. Incidentally, this is the night that he lost to a man I cannot say enough bad things about, current cable news ghoul, Rudy Giuliani. I’d forgotten how contentious this loss was, and it’s interesting to watch this speech, given what Eli mentions about being gracious to the point of making oneself nauseous, aaaand unfortunately, it gets cut short in the video. Check it out here.

Here’s Dick Gephardt handing the gavel, and the role of Speaker of the House, to Newt Gingrich.
Gore’s concession speech (madder about this now than I was back then, and I was mad back then).

Visit our sponsor for this episode, Casper Mattresses, and get $50.00 off by entering the promo code “ART” at casper.com/art

Find us on Twitter:

In this episode...


  • Eil Attie

About the show

The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo is the newest artistic collaboration from legendary singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. Every other week, Aimee and Ted talk to friends across the creative spectrum to find out how they work. And sure, they’re friends with a lot of musicians, but weirdly not as many as you’d expect. So you’ll hear from comedians, directors, novelists, show creators – ok, yes, some musicians – writers, producers and more, as they discuss the process of turning an idea into art.

Follow @artofprocesspod on Twitter and Instagram.


How to listen

Stream or download episodes directly from our website, or listen via your favorite podcatcher!

Share this show

New? Start here...