TODAY   |  February 28, 2013

Obama speechwriter recalls day of bin Laden raid

TODAY’s Willie Geist shares a Bonus Take about his interview with Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who recalls writing jokes for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on the night Osama bin Laden was killed.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> hour i had an interview with jon favreau , a young speechwriter that writes for president obama . he's leaving at the age of 31 and been with president obama since the age of 23 writing speeches for the leader of the free world . one of the parts we couldn't get into the piece was this story he told me about the moments leading up to the white house correspondent's dinner in 2011 . this was the correspondent's dinner before the raid and seth meyer and a bin laden joke and cut to the president, stone-faced. we didn't know this but we didn't know they were on their way to get bin laden . favreau talked about knowing the joke to that event and not knowing himself.

>> we go in to see the president. he's like, i like all your jokes. i think everything is fine. there's one joke where the punchline is osama bin laden , i would maybe change that to another dictator.

>> did you read anything into that?

>> no. i had no idea why he was doing it. would hosni mubarak work?

>> mu bbarak works.

>> we change it and that was it. i found out the next day just like everyone else did.

>> calmly says, give me another dictator. i can't tell you why, give me another dictator.

>> you'll figure it out.

>> you'll know by this time tomorrow.

>> and favreau and his co-writing partner, john lovitt , from saturday night love?

>> not john lovitt --

>> john lovitt who left the white house last year in l.a. and writes executive producers 600 penn on nbc, there's a tradition of these guys.