Obama's new wordsmith believes in public service

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's new chief speechwriter is a 32-year-old fellow Chicagoan who believes in public service.

Cody Keenan stoked his appetite for public service while working for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He was steered to Obama's first presidential campaign while studying at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Keenan joined Obama's campaign in the summer of 2007 as an unpaid speechwriter and was hired full time after earning his degree the following year. He's been with Obama ever since.

White House colleagues, including many Obama campaign veterans, praise Keenan's writing skills and work ethic.

Keenan first gained public notice for writing the speech Obama delivered at a Tucson, Ariz., memorial service for victims of a deadly January 2011 mass shooting that severely injured then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

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