Michael Gerson, Washington Post Columnist and Former George W. Bush Speechwriter, Dies at 58

Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post, has died. The news came early Thursday out of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. He was 58 years old.

Peter Wehner, a longtime friend and former colleague of Gerson, told the Post that the cause of death was complications of cancer. Gerson was diagnosed with slow-growing kidney cancer in 2013.

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The political writer joined the Bush campaign in 1999. During his tenure as a Bush speechwriter, Gerson helped shape the former president’s messaging in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Notable phrases coined by Gerson include “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” “the armies of compassion” and the “axis of Evil.” In 2006, Gerson left the Bush administration to pursue other writing and policy work.

He later joined the Post in 2007, where he wrote twice weekly columns about conservative politics and faith.

Gerson is survived by his wife, Dawn Soon Miller, two sons, Michael and Nicholas, and two brothers.

The Washington Post first reported the news.

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