Working with his senior staff, President George W. Bush reviews the speech that he will deliver to the nation from the Oval Office on September 11, 2001. Pictured from left are: Alberto Gonzales, White House Counsel; Karen Hughes, Counselor; Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor; Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary; and Andy Card, Chief of Staff.

During the George W. Bush Administration, speeches were used to communicate important policies or actions taken by the United States government. Before the President gave a speech, drafts were created by speechwriters. Speechwriters performed research on topics and reviewed previous speeches and documents to ensure that remarks given by President Bush had a consistent tone and voice. After a speech was completed, it was sent to the Staff Secretary. The Staff Secretary circulated documents to White House staff and requested comments. Once any comments were received, the Staff Secretary coordinated changes to the draft and ensured that the final copy was approved and printed for the President. Often President Bush reviewed and made comments on speeches himself.


Speech cards used by President George W. Bush at the arrival ceremony for the President of Kenya on October 6, 2003.

After a speech was finalized, it was printed on speech cards. These small cards were used by the President as he gave the speech. President Bush had the habit of underlining almost every sentence on his speech cards. He also sometimes noted where to take a pause or made last minute edits.

Speech drafts and other speech-related documents are found in the White House Office of Records Management subject files. They are primarily filed in SP (Speeches) or in subject files that are related to the speech's topic. For example, a speech given in celebration of a holiday could be filed in HO (Holidays).

Speech drafts are also found in Staff Member Office Files or the files of someone who worked in the White House. Some offices, like the White House Office of Speechwriting or the Staff Secretary, have large groupings of speech cards, speech drafts, and documents used during the writing process in the records.

Digitized Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

2014-0040-F: Drafts of President George W. Bush’s First Inaugural Address

2014-0041-F: Drafts of President George W. Bush’s Remarks at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance on September 14, 2001

2014-0042-F: Drafts of the 2002 State of the Union Address

2014-0043-F: Drafts of the Beginning of the Iraq War Speeches

2014-0044-F: Drafts of the May 1, 2003 Speech Delivered Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln

2014-0045-F: Drafts of the Second Inaugural Address of President George W. Bush, Delivered January 20, 2005

2014-0489-F: Select Speeches Related to Turkey

2014-0555-F: Drafts of President George W. Bush’s Remarks at the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 1, 2002

2016-0137-F: Records on President George W. Bush’s Address to the Nation on the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001

2016-0138-F: Drafts of President George W. Bush's Address to Congress on September 20, 2001

2016-0139-F: Speech Drafts of President George W. Bush’s Address to the Nation Announcing Strikes Against al-Qaeda Training Camps and Taliban Military Installations in Afghanistan, 10/07/2001

Archival Research Guide 

For a more complete guide of the archival records that are open for research, please download the Archival Research Guide:

Material at the George W. Bush Presidential Library Pertaining to Speeches


Final transcripts of public speeches are published in the Public Papers of the PresidentsAdditional speeches, remarks, and statements from 2001 - 2008 are available through the archived White House Website. 

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