Charlie Savage

Speech Topics

Charlie Savage lays out how recent presidents of both parties have worked to concentrate more unchecked power in the White House at the expense of Congress and the courts. He places these changes in the broader context of the Founders’ insight two centuries ago that because human beings are flawed, no one should wield too much government power; how the United States began to stray from that vision amid the national security fears of the early Cold War; and how the original ‘imperial presidency’ came crashing down amid Watergate and Vietnam. Drawing on the investigative reporting that won him a Pulitzer Prize and his research for his critically-acclaimed book Takeover, Savage explores how the Bush administration set out to roll back the reforms of the 1970s by restoring presidential power to the levels it had briefly reached before Nixon fell, a project that began before 9/11 and that was dramatically accelerated by the war on terrorism. Looking forward to the 2008 election and beyond, Savage discusses how future presidents – including Democrats – are likely to respond to the expanded powers they will inherit as he examines future of American-style democracy.


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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie Savage is a Washington correspondent for the New York Times. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Savage graduated from Harvard College and earned a master’s degree from Yale Law School as part of a Knight Foundation journalism fellowship. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Luiza Ch. Savage, the editorial director of events for Politico, and their children, William and Peter Savage.

Savage has been covering post-9/11 issues since 2003, when he was a reporter for the Miami Herald. While working for the Boston Globe, Savage received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He has twice co-taught a seminar on national security and the Constitution at Georgetown University’s political science department, and has been writing for the New York Times since 2008. His Times articles are compiled here.

Savage’s first book, Takeover, was a bestselling and award-winning account of the Bush-Cheney administration’s efforts to expand presidential power, and was named one of the best books of 2007 by the Washington Post, Slate, and Esquire. His second book, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency (2015), is a penetrating investigation of the Obama presidency and the national security state.

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