| Barack Obama|
| Jon Favreau|
| Northwestern University, John F. Kennedy School of Government|
Marilyn Keenan, Steve Keenan
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Northwestern University
Cody Keenan is a speechwriter, and the former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama. Keenan studied political science at Northwestern University. After graduation, he worked in the senate office of Ted Kennedy, before studying for a master's in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. After graduation, he took a full-time position on the Barack Obama presidential campaign in 2008. In 2009, he took on the position of Deputy Director of Speechwriting; after Jon Favreau left the White House in 2013, Keenan took over as Director of Speechwriting.
Keenan's parents were both advertising executives, who lived in Lake View, Chicago, before moving to Evanston, Illinois, Wilmette, Illinois, and later Fairfield County, Connecticut, where Keenan attended high school. Keenan attended Northwestern University, beginning as a pre-medical student, hoping to become an Orthopedic surgeon, but changed his major to Chinese, international studies, and finally political science, graduating in 2002.
Keenan's political career began with an internship in the mailroom of Ted Kennedy's senate office in 2003, before going on to become the senator's legislative aide. After a stint as a staff assistant for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Keenan took a master's degree in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, studying speechwriting and delivery under Steve Jarding. In 2007, Keenan took a summer internship in speechwriting on Barack Obama's presidential campaign, working under Jon Favreau, before returning to the Kennedy school to complete the second year of his studies. He remained involved in the campaign during the year, flying to Iowa during the Christmas break to assist in preparation for the Iowa caucuses. After Hillary Clinton conceded in June 2008, Keenan returned as a full-time staffer on Obama's presidential campaign.
After the election, Keenan continued in the role as Deputy Director of Speechwriting, working on a speech about the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the President's eulogy for Ted Kennedy in 2009, and the President's address after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, among other speeches. He appeared in a visual gag for the 2009 White House Correspondents' Dinner, dressed as a pirate. Prior to Favreau's departure from the White House in March 2013, Keenan took the lead on writing the State of the Union in January 2013.
In March 2013, Keenan was promoted to White House Director of Speechwriting, with overall responsibility for all speechwriting. Writing in The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt noted that unlike Favreau, "who was known for his ability to write lofty, big-picture speeches ... Mr. Keenan focuses far more on individual, hard-work stories as parables for what is difficult but still possible in America." In 2015, Keenan wrote the speech delivered by Obama to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
In June 2015, Keenan gave a commencement address to the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Cody Keenan Wikipedia