Theodore Sorensen dies: John F. Kennedy aide and speechwriter was 82

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NEW YORK -- President John F. Kennedy's aide and speechwriter, Theodore C. Sorensen, a symbol of hope and liberal governance, died at a time of contempt for Washington and political leaders.

Sorensen's passing Sunday came just as supporters of his friend and boss were preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a very different moment in history: The election of Kennedy as president and the speech that remains the greatest collaboration between Sorensen and Kennedy and the standard for modern oratory.

With its call for self-sacrifice and civic engagement - "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" - and its promise to spare no cost in defending the country's interests worldwide, the address is an uplifting but haunting reminder of national purpose and confidence, before Vietnam, assassinations, Watergate, terrorists attacks and economic shock....

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