As a 25-year-old, recently discharged Army private in 1958, Stephen Hess suddenly found himself as part of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speechwriting team. Over the next two decades, Hess would fill various roles aiding Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan—observing up-close those presidents and many other senior political leaders along the way. In his new memoir, “Bit Player: My Life with Presidents and Ideas,” Hess, now a senior fellow emeritus at Brookings and one of the foremost authorities on media and government in the United States, shares insightful stories from his years in Washington.
On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Hess debuted his memoir at Brookings and was joined by USA Today’s Susan Page for a discussion. They explored the book’s insight into contemporary American democracy and the most memorable moments of Hess’s years behind the scenes of political power.
After the discussion, speakers took questions from the audience.
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