Ted Widmer is Assistant to the President for Special Projects at Brown University. He edited Listening In: The Secret White House Tape Recordings of John F. Kennedy.

History Lessons

No historian has ever been as close to power as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was to President Kennedy as a new collection of his letters shows. Ted Widmer on the whirl of celebrity and policy that dance across the pages.


In exclusive excerpts from JFK’s secret White House tapes, the Joint Chiefs attack the president behind his back.

Yes, health-care reform is a key win on the merits. But it also shows Obama prevailing over GOP fear-mongering—and generating momentum for the challenges ahead.

For the vast middle of this country, and the even vaster populations that lie beyond it, it has been a relatively good year.

Former Clinton speechwriter Ted Widmer says there’s never been a presidential portrait as intimate as Taylor Branch’s new book—and we’ll never get a download like this about the second Bush administration.

A former Clinton speechwriter rates Obama's Cairo speech his best yet. Ted Widmer explains how the president's astute address to the Muslim world was of biblical proportions.