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The Fifth Estate

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The President's Pen

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Photo of Pat Cunnane

Pat Cunnane — Photo: Jon Tjhia

‘What’s a POTUS?’

Pat Cunnane, aged 22, asked a co-worker this question on one of his first days working at the White House. It’s safe to say he figured out the answer pretty quickly, rising from his first job as White House media monitor to become the senior writer and deputy director for messaging for the POTUS himself, Barack Obama.

In Cunnane’s new book, West Winging It: An Unpresidential Memoir, he gives fascinating insider’s account of his six years working at the heart of the Obama administration. During these years, Cunnane wrangled reporters and photographers and wrote statements, opinion pieces and even jokes in the former President’s voice. He was there for the big moments and the small and he was there, of course, for the surprise transition to Donald Trump.

With Sally Warhaft, Cunnane talks about what it’s like writing the words that would shape hearts and minds of a nation, and the world. He also shares his thoughts on the American presidency then and now – and the minutiae of daily working life in the White House – talking Trump and Twitter; history and hope.

Photo of Sally Warhaft and Pat Cunnane

Sally Warhaft and Pat Cunnane — Photo: Jon Tjhia

The Fifth Estate

The important stories of the day – off the front pages.

Sally Warhaft hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs.