Whether he’s working within the White House walls or crafting scripts for White House-inspired television, Patrick Cunnane is no stranger to politics.
The Washington D.C.-bound ‘Cane graduated in 2010 with a B.S.C and no inclination of the six-year journey he would soon embark on with former President Barack Obama. As the former president’s senior writer and deputy director of messaging, Cunnane developed statements in Obama’s voice and partook in many significant visits around the world.
“Miami was key. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life when I was a student at Miami, but my majors – political science and journalism – and the remarkable professors who taught me, crystalized my interest in politics and my love for writing,” said Cunnane.
Moreover, Pat conceptualized, managed, and co-wrote Obama’s appearance on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld, which shattered the series’ viewership records and garnered an Emmy nomination.
Today, Cunnane works as a writer on ABC’s Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland and is rereleasing his first book, West Winging It, in paperback. The Mark Gordon Company is attached to develop the book for TV.
“I wrote West Winging It as a sort of love letter to what it used to mean to work at the White House – and what it can mean again,” explained Cunnane. “It’s a portrait of what the place is really like, from the minutiae to the momentous. I hope it shows that the West Wing can be fun without being totally dysfunctional.”
What’s Cunnane’s most memorable experience from his career thus far? Although he says there are too many to narrow down, he includes standing backstage with the Obamas the night President Obama was re-elected and traveling on Air Force One with the Obamas, Bushs, and Hillary Clinton to the memorial service for Nelson Mandela among his most impactful memories.
“Seeing America through the presidential bubble was utterly fascinating and a privilege I will never forget,” said Cunnane. “I’ve since made a complete 180 and moved to Hollywood, and it was genuinely a really cool moment when my book came out on the same day as an episode I wrote for Designated Survivor aired. It was a pinch-me moment for sure.”
Cunnane will be returning to his alma mater on Friday, Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. to share his experiences at the Bill Cosford Cinema in a discussion moderated by Jack Miller, assistant professor of professional practice. This event is open to the UM and Coral Gables community. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.