6:30am PT by Peter Kiefer
Ex-Obama Speechwriter Edits Out Failure to Vote From Popular Podcast
It was in front of a packed audience at the Ace Hotel in May that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti exacted an embarrassing admission from former Obama speechwriter-turned-political podcaster Jon Lovett: The 34-year old had not voted in the L.A. city election that was held on May 16.
To be fair, less than 9 percent of registered voters turned out that day, and the city has long struggled with rampant voter apathy. But considering that politics and activism are supposedly Lovett’s stock-in-trade, it struck the audience as gasp-worthy and prompted Mayor Garcetti to issue Lovett a stern, if still friendly, talking-to for his civic delinquency.
But chances are, you didn’t hear about this.
That is because other than the few hundred people present inside the Ace Theater that night you couldn’t have for one simple reason: It was edited out of the final cut that was released to the general public. Since Lovett launched Pod Save America in January with former White House aides Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor, it has quickly emerged as one of the nation’s most popular political podcasts, regularly generating downloads in the low six figures.
Curiously, during one exchange with Garcetti about the ills of LAX that did make the final version, Lovett jokes that he was going “to cut that part” out. What people didn’t know at the time is he wasn’t kidding.
“I don't live in the city of L.A., I live in West Hollywood. So I actually couldn't vote on the ballot measure or any of the city council races. That's why I was confused about it. What I DID miss, and what I'm embarrassed I missed, was a vote in a school board race. That's what was on the ballot where I live. I'm going to do better to not miss local races like this. I will never apologize for selective editing to make myself look better,” Lovett said in an email to The Hollywood Reporter.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
June 22, 12:55 PM: Updated with a statement from Jon Lovett.