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UPDATE: The permanent and special exhibits at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum are open to the public. Our Research Room remains to closed to the public. We will continue to respond to written requests for records at gwbush.library@nara.gov. Please check the Library and Museum's website for updates on our operating hours and status.

During the George W. Bush Administration, speeches were used to communicate important policies or actions taken by the United States government. Before the President gave a speech, drafts were created by speechwriters. Speechwriters performed research on topics and reviewed previous speeches and documents to ensure that remarks given by President Bush had a consistent tone and voice. After a speech was completed, it was sent to the Staff Secretary. The Staff Secretary circulated documents to White House staff and requested comments. Once any comments were received, the Staff Secretary coordinated changes to the draft and ensured that the final copy was approved and printed for the President. Often President Bush reviewed and made comments on speeches himself.

Speech card from arrival ceremony for President of Kenya
Speech cards used by President George W. Bush at the arrival ceremony for the President of Kenya on October 6, 2003.

After a speech was finalized, it was printed on speech cards. These small cards were used by the President as he gave the speech. President Bush had the habit of underlining almost every sentence on his speech cards. He also sometimes noted where to take a pause or made last minute edits.

Speech drafts and other speech-related documents are found in the White House Office of Records Management subject files. They are primarily filed in SP (Speeches) or in subject files that are related to the speech's topic. For example, a speech given in celebration of a holiday could be filed in HO (Holidays).

Speech drafts are also found in Staff Member Office Files or the files of someone who worked in the White House. Some offices, like the White House Office of Speechwriting or the Staff Secretary, have large groupings of speech cards, speech drafts, and documents used during the writing process in the records.

Resources

The following carefully selected resources, some of which are from the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, provide further information about Presidential speeches.

Digitized Presidential Records

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

Archival Research Guide

For a more complete guide of the archival records that are open for research, please download the Archival Research Guide:

Material at the George W. Bush Presidential Library Pertaining to Speeches

Additional Resources

Final transcripts of public speeches are published in the Public Papers of the Presidents. Additional speeches, remarks, and statements from 2001-2009 are available on the archived White House website.