Intimate Conversations with America’s Change-Makers

Burn the Boats is an award-winning podcast featuring intimate conversations with change-makers from every walk of life. Host Ken Harbaugh interviews politicians, authors, activists, and others about the most important issues of our time.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

Bonus: Adam Frankel on Writing for Obama

| S:1 E:5.5

“The words themselves are not the hard part. It's being able to empathize, to connect that is the most important part of being a speechwriter, and then the words themselves will just follow.” - Adam Frankel

In this bonus episode, Ken continues his conversation with Adam Frankel, talking about what it was like to write speeches for President Obama.

You can find the speech Ken and Adam discussed in this episode, Barack Obama's 2008 Iowa caucus victory speech, on C-SPAN.

Adam Frankel was a senior speechwriter for President Obama and is an advisor to Emerson Collective and Fenway Strategies. His memoir, The Survivors, is available on Amazon. You can learn more about Adam on his website,, and follow him on Twitter at @apfrankel.

Join in the discussion! Participate in Episode 6 of Burn the Boats with Mary Beth Bruggeman by leaving a voicemail at 216-245-5461 or sending a voice memo to [email protected]. Tell us your first name (or anonymous, if you prefer) and tell us about a time when your identity or background brought something valuable to the table in a new community.


Recent Episodes

View All

LTG Mark Hertling: Ukraine’s Path to Victory

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:173
Lieutenant General Hertling explains what’s standing in Ukraine’s way, why the US needs to help, and how the US political system is fractured, but...
Listen to LTG Mark Hertling: Ukraine’s Path to Victory

Sam Hartwell: Why Ukraine Still Needs Us

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:172
Sam Hartwell, who has spent the last two years in Ukraine, explains the economic & political implications of the war in Ukraine, and dispels some ...
Listen to Sam Hartwell: Why Ukraine Still Needs Us

Rep. Seth Moulton: Democracy on the Brink

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:171
Rep. Moulton discusses the possibility of authoritarianism in America, the effects of January 6th, and how Democrats could be doing better....
Listen to Rep. Seth Moulton: Democracy on the Brink

Mayor Justin Bibb: Biden’s Influence

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:170
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb talks about how President Biden and his policies have helped cities across the country....
Listen to Mayor Justin Bibb: Biden’s Influence