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Ken Khachigian

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Ken Khachigian

Ken Khachigian
Khachigian meeting with President Ronald Reagan in the White House Oval Office
Chief Speechwriter and Special Consultant to the President
In office
January 1981 – May 1981
President Ronald Reagan
Deputy Special Assistant to the President
In office
1973–1974
President Richard Nixon
Staff Assistant to the President
In office
1970–1972
President Richard Nixon
Personal details
Born

(1944-09-14) September 14, 1944


Visalia, California
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Alma mater UC Santa Barbara (B.A.) Columbia Law School (J.D.)
Occupation Political Consultant, Speechwriter, Attorney

Kenneth L. Khachigian (born September 14, 1944, in Visalia, California) is an Armenian-American political consultant, speechwriter, and attorney. He is best known for being a longtime aide to President Richard Nixon and chief speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan.

He served as chief speechwriter on Reagan's successful 1980 presidential campaign, and continued as chief speechwriter in the Reagan administration, writing Reagan's first inaugural address, his three main economic speeches, and the welcome home speech to the Iranian hostages. Although he resigned after several months to return to the private sector in California, he continued to write many of the major political and policy speeches as chief speechwriter on Reagan's successful 1984 re-election campaign and throughout the second term, including the 1984 nomination acceptance speech, the 1985 remarks at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, and the 1988 Republican National Convention farewell address.

He is a veteran of nine presidential campaigns. Most recently, he served as a senior advisor to the presidential campaigns of Bob Dole (1996), John McCain (2000), and Fred Thompson (2008).

Contents

  • Early life and education 1
  • Work for Nixon 2
    • 1968 presidential campaign 2.1
    • Nixon administration, first term (1970-72) 2.2
    • 1972 presidential campaign 2.3
    • Nixon administration, second term (1973-74) 2.4
    • Presidential memoirs and Frost/Nixon interviews (1975-79) 2.5
  • Work for Reagan 3
    • 1980 presidential campaign 3.1
    • Reagan administration, first term (1981-84) 3.2
    • 1984 presidential campaign 3.3
    • Reagan administration, second term (1985-88) 3.4
  • Work on California campaigns 4
  • Work on presidential campaigns 5
  • Notable speeches 6
  • Personal life 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Khachigian was born September 14, 1944, in Visalia, California. He was raised with his three brothers on a 60-acre,cotton, walnut, and grape farm founded by his paternal grandfather, who had escaped from Armenia ahead of the Armenian genocide and immigrated to the United States in 1912.[1]

He attended Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia, where he was elected sophomore, junior, and senior class president, and graduated in 1962.

He received his BA in political science, with honors, from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1966 and his JD from Columbia Law School in 1969.[2]

Work for Nixon

1968 presidential campaign

Khachigian was in law school at Columbia University at the time that former Vice President Richard Nixon decided to seek the presidency. He wrote to the campaign, offering to volunteer and in December 1967, he was hired by Pat Buchanan to work in the New York campaign headquarters answering letters between classes at law school.[3] He went on to handle small research projects, such as locating quotations and figures for Nixon speeches. By the summer of 1968, he had worked his way up to writing agriculture, housing, and transportation position papers as a research and policy aide reporting directly to Alan Greenspan, the campaign's economic and domestic policy advisor.[4][5]

Nixon administration, first term (1970-72)

In January 1970, shortly after graduating from Columbia Law School, he joined the Nixon Administration as part of the national goals research staff. In August 1970, he became staff assistant to the director of communications, Herbert Klein. He became involved in the 1970 congressional midterm elections, writing speeches and preparing political analyses. In the early months of 1971, he was responsible for generating support for specific administration proposals. In the spring of 1971, he was transferred along with most of Klein's staff to Charles Colson, the special counsel to the President, with his duties remaining unchanged.

1972 presidential campaign

By May 1971, Khachigian was working on the McGovern campaign.

Nixon administration, second term (1973-74)

In early 1973, Khachigian transferred to the President's speechwriting staff, working under chief speechwriter David Gergen, with the title of deputy special assistant to the President. At first his subject areas of expertise were agriculture, natural resources and the environment, and political and legal affairs. Beginning in June 1973, however, he took on the tasks of researcher and writer on issues and problems evolving from the Watergate break-in.[6]

Presidential memoirs and Frost/Nixon interviews (1975-79)

Khachigian worked for President Gerald Ford for two months, until the fall of 1974. He then moved to San Clemente, California to assist Nixon with his presidential memoirs.

In 1977, he served as chief researcher for Nixon's interviews with David Frost.[7] He was portrayed by actor Gabriel Jarret in the 2008 historical drama film Frost/Nixon that tells the story behind the Frost/Nixon interviews.[8]

Nixon's memoirs were completed in the spring of 1978, however, Khachigian continued to work for Nixon for an additional year, assisting with several post-publication activities, including organizing briefing books for Nixon's trips to Europe and outlining ideas for speeches. He would later attribute much of his expertise to the four years spent working closely with Nixon on his memoirs.[9]

Work for Reagan

1980 presidential campaign

Khachigian joined Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign, having been recruited by Reagan's campaign manager, Stu Spencer. Khachigian traveled on the campaign plane to punch-up speeches between campaign stops.[10] He helped coin the term "fatally flawed", which was used throughout the campaign, in reference to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) II with the Soviet Union.[11]

Reagan administration, first term (1981-84)

In 1981, Khachigian was named chief speechwriter and special consultant to the President. Within the first 100 days, Khachigian wrote Reagan's inaugural address, his three main economic speeches, and the welcome home to the Iranian hostages.

1984 presidential campaign

During the 1984 presidential campaign, Khachigian served as chief campaign speechwriter, senior advisor, and director of issues and research.[2] He wrote the 1984 nomination acceptance speech and was one of only two campaign aides who accompanied President Reagan aboard Air Force One throughout his landslide re-election. Khachigian also, along with Stuart Spencer, James A. Baker III, Richard Darman, David Stockman, and Michael Deaver, helped prepare Reagan for his presidential debates with Democrat Walter Mondale.

Reagan administration, second term (1985-88)

Khachigian with President Ronald Reagan, First Lady Nancy Reagan, press secretary Larry Speakes, chief of staff Don Regan, and aide Dennis Thomas aboard Air Force One circa 1986.

In May 1985, Reagan delivered a Khachigian crafted speech at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. In the previous month, the Administration had announced that Reagan would visit the Kolmeshohe Cemetery near Bitburg, at the suggestion of Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany, to pay respects to the soldiers interred there. The visit was intended to be symbolic of the goodwill between the two countries, but unbeknownst to the Reagan Administration, 49 of the graves contained the remains of men who had served in the Waffen-SS. In an effort to placate the protesters, Reagan added a visit to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to his itinerary. Reagan famously said, "... we can and must pledge: Never again." TIME magazine praised the address as a "skillful exercise in both the art of eulogy and political damage control".[12] Reagan biographer, Edmund Morris regards this as the best speech of Reagan's career.[13]

In August 1988, Khachigian drafted Reagan’s farewell address to the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, and then joined the Bush presidential campaign as an aide to vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle. He traveled with Quayle for 10 weeks through election day, preparing him for debates and writing campaign speeches.[14]

Work on California campaigns

Khachigian has been active in California elections since the early 1980s. He is regarded as the "lion" of California GOP politics.[15] Nationally prominent political commentator Bob Novak has written that Khachigian is "perhaps the state’s premier Republican strategist and wordsmith."[16]

During the 1982 and 1986 California gubernatorial campaigns, Khachigian was senior adviser and principal strategist for Governor Dan Lungren for his two victories as Attorney General and to U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Herschensohn — engineering come-from-behind wins for Lungren’s first campaign and for Herschensohn’s primary victory in 1992. For Herschensohn’s dramatic upset victory, The San Francisco Chronicle’s leading political reporter, Jerry Roberts, described Khachigian as “the wily veteran GOP message-maker” and dubbed him “best manager” for his efforts.[16]

Khachigian counseled Pete Wilson in his winning U.S. Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, and in 1998 guided the successful statewide retention election of California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin.

Work on presidential campaigns

Khachigian is a veteran of nine presidential campaigns.[17]

In addition to his work on the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush-Quayle campaigns, he served as a senior advisor to the Bob Dole, John McCain, and Fred Thompson presidential campaigns.

He served as national senior adviser to presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996. He ran Dole’s California campaign and oversaw all scheduling and issue planning for the state.[5]

He was a senior adviser traveling with Senator John McCain to New Hampshire, South Carolina and California during the primaries, as McCain sought the 2000 Republican Presidential nomination. Subsequently, he served as an adviser to the Bush-Cheney campaign nationally and in California.

Most recently, he served as senior advisor to Fred Thompson's 2008 presidential campaign.

Notable speeches

Khachigian wrote many of Reagan's most important speeches, including:

Personal life

Khachigian is a senior partner in the Orange County, California law office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

He serves as a director emeritus to the Richard Nixon Foundation, on the board of regents for the Boy Scouts of America Orange County Council, editorial advisory board for Campaigns & Elections Magazine, advisory board for the Armenian Eyecare Project, board of directors for the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance.[2] Previously, he served on the board of overseers for the Hoover Institution from 1986–1992, as a board member of the Armenian Assembly of America from 1983–1989, and as President Reagan's appointee to the National Institute of Justice advisory board.[16]

He was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He is married to Meredith Khachigian, who served for three terms as Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of California.[18]

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Cannon, Lou (2000) President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. PublicAffairs, p. 73.
  11. ^ Paterno, Susan (August 16, 1988) "The Speech Writer: OC Man Helps Reagan Bow Out In Style". The Orange County Register, p. A13.
  12. ^ Doerner, William R. (May 13, 1985) "Paying Homage to History". Time.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b c
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links

  • Biography at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
  • Khachigian Quotes at Think Exist
  • UCB Notable Alumni
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