Politics
Politics

Obama Speechwriter Reveals 'Bro Culture' In White House

| by Alex Scarr

A speechwriter for former U.S. President Barack Obama has a new memoir that describes a "bro culture" among various White House aides and a president who went along with it.

David Litt, a Yale graduate, was one of the youngest staffers in the White House in 2011 after he was hired at the age of 24. Litt's new memoir, entitled "Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years" chronicles Litt's time as a comedy speechwriter for the president, according to the Daily Mail.

Litt describes a "bro culture" within the fellow comedy speechwriting staff, which he characterized as all-white, all-male, and all under 40 years old. They would call each other "bro" in the halls of the White House, Litt recalls, and fist-bump at nearly every opportunity. They all either liked or pretended to like college basketball to appease Obama.

He also mentions the body language dynamics in the Oval Office, listing what he considered to be the biggest "power moves" after a meeting with the president.

"The ultimate Oval Office power move" among staffers and diplomats was to take an apple as you left a meeting, polish it on your suit and "take a casual chomp on your way out of the door," Litt remembers. He also said that "if chest bumping had been permitted in the Oval, we would have gone for it," but in its absence, the next best thing was to "laugh with outsize confidence" as one left the room.

Litt wrote several jokes for the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and specifically mentions an incident in 2011 when he had prepared an Osama bin Laden joke only to have it scrapped by the president at the last minute. Litt only learned later that the reason Obama abandoned that joke was because just hours before the dinner, Obama was in the situation room giving authorization on the strike that killed bin Laden.

For the most part, though, Litt says Obama indulged in the "bro culture" that pervaded.

He remembers a joke that almost made it into the script for the 2012 Correspondents' Dinner, when fellow writer Jeff Nussbaum referenced a remark from then-Vice President Joe Biden that said Obama "carried a big stick" when it came to foreign policy.

"Let's put it this way, dreams aren't the only thing I got from my father," went Nussbaum's punchline. Litt recalled Obama laughing so hard, he secretly hoped he would sneak it into the script.

Litt's memoir is due out September 19.

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