Mary Kate Cary

Practitioner Senior Fellow

Fast Facts

  • Former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush
  • Provides political commentary for NPR, CNN, Fox News Channel, and CTV (Canada)
  • Executive producer of 41ON41, a documentary about President George H.W. Bush
  • Expertise on presidential communications, speechwriting

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Media and the Press
  • Governance
  • Elections
  • Leadership
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Mary Kate Cary, practitioner senior fellow, served as a White House speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to early 1992, authoring more than 100 of his presidential addresses. She also has ghostwritten several books related to President Bush’s life and career and served as senior writer for communications for the 1988 Bush-Quayle presidential campaign.

Currently an adjunct professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Politics, Cary teaches classes on political speechwriting; the greatest American political speeches; and the 2020 presidential election. In her first year in the politics department, she was recognized by the UVA Student Council for excellence in teaching.

Cary currently chairs the advisory board of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, where she has been a member since 2004. The Bush Foundation oversees the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Bush School of Government & Public Service, with campuses at Texas A&M University and in Washington, D.C.. In 2014, she was the creator and executive producer of 41ON41, a documentary about President George H. W. Bush, which premiered internationally on CNN. She is also a producer of President in Waiting, a documentary about the modern vice presidency that features interviews with all of the living vice presidents, which debuted on CNN in December 2020.

Following her tenure at the White House, Cary served as spokesman and deputy director of policy and communications for U.S. Attorney General William Barr and deputy director of communications at the Republican National Committee under Chairman Haley Barbour. She also served as a long-time columnist at US News & World Report, writing on politics and the presidency.

Cary is currently a member of the Ronald Reagan Institute's Women in Civics Advisory Council; UVA's Darden School of Business Leadership Communication Council; and the national advisory board of The Network of Enlightened Women, which supports conservative female leaders on more than 50 college campuses. She is a long-time member of the Judson Welliver Society of former presidential speechwriters.

Mary Kate Cary News Feed

Wednesday’s event, which was sponsored by the Think Again @ UVA initiative, was moderated by politics professor Mary Kate Cary and included student panelists Emma Camp and Will Mallas, plus politics professor John Owen.
Mary Kate Cary UVA Today
Nearly a year after the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors endorsed a statement unequivocally affirming the freedom of expression and inquiry on Grounds, the school is providing a platform to continue the conversation. While the policy will not change – UVA stands firmly behind its commitment to ideological diversity and expression – a new event challenges University community members to consider what adhering to the commitment might mean to them.
Mary Kate Cary UVA Today
The second session, titled “The Right and the Politics of Democracy” and moderated by UVA adjunct politics professor Mary Kate Cary, ran the gamut on more current issues surrounding conservatism, as Cary had her panelists – New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and Emory University history professor Patrick N. Allitt – focused on changes in the 21st century. Douthat in 2008 published “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.” Allitt in 2009 published “The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History.”
Mary Kate Cary UVA Today
Martin Luther King Jr. is widely regarded as one of the best public speakers of all time. Mary Kate Cary, a senior fellow at the UVA Miller Center of Public Affairs, said the motivational nature of King’s speeches, akin to the famous Greek orator Demosthenes, is what sets him apart.
Andrew Ramspacher UVA Today
Senior Fellow Mary Kate Cary is interviewed on Canada's CTV News Network.
Mary Kate Cary CTV News
I teach political speech writing. My students know that earlier this year I served on a committee that wrote the University of Virginia’s statement on free speech and free inquiry, which stated that “All views, beliefs, and perspectives deserve to be articulated and heard free from interference.” I’m also a conservative who recently co-taught a 2020 elections class with a liberal colleague – and we both managed to survive. In my class, the mainly liberal students know they can speak freely about what’s important to them. Being open about your political views is important – but so too is listening generously to those of others.
Mary Kate Cary The Conversation