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The President’s Pen

When

‘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 will discuss what it’s like writing the words that would shape hearts and minds of a nation, and the world. He’ll also share his thoughts on the American presidency then and now, talking Trump and Twitter; history and hope.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Featuring

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians’ lives in the fog of ... Read more

Pat Cunnane

Pat Cunnane was President Barack Obama’s Senior Writer and Deputy Director of Messaging at the White House where he worked for six years in many roles, responsible for writing statements, jokes, op-eds, and more in the President’s voice. After leaving the White House, Pat Cunnane co-wrote the Pr... Read more

Location

The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respect to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.