Best-selling author Peggy Noonan is releasing her ninth book, "The Time of Our Lives," a collection of her writings that chronicle her career from being a CBS News producer and writer, to writing speeches for President Ronald Reagan.
On "CBS This Morning" Monday, Noonan shared the back story of one of the most famous speeches she crafted, which President Ronald Reagan delivered in a televised address to the nation after the space shuttle Challenger exploded during takeoff in 1986.
"He had been a little disappointed and I think because everyone was so upset that day," she said. "Everybody was so rattled--there was nothing you could do to make it better, and he felt that as he was given the speech. But afterwards, he changed his mind a little bit. "
Noonan said that the speech, the pinnacle of which was the line that the astronauts had "slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God," was inspired by a poem that she had memorized in junior high school - John Magee's High Flight.
"I didn't even know if he knew the poem, I just had a hunch he did," she said laughing. "Turns out he called me the next day and his first words were, 'How did you know I knew that poem?'"
Noonan said she learned to write "for the ear" during her days at CBS News, working with "Murrow's Boys" in the radio and television newsroom. Since then, she has gone on to become one of the most well-known voices in American politics. While the Wall Street Journalist columnist said she did not like to offend people, she has harshly criticized politicians in her writings.
In a recent op-ed about GOP candidate Jeb Bush, she slammed his campaign, writing: "He has not succeeded this year, and there is no particular reason to believe he will."
"I take it very much as part of my job to just tell you honestly what I think I'm seeing and you're going to ruffle some feathers," she explained. "I always hope, I promise you, at the end of the day that I'm wrong."
Noonan also weighed in on the state of the 2016 presidential elections: "The good thing about what's happening on the Republican side is it's alive, it's vibrant, it's a fight, it's a scrum," she said. "You got the most unusual people in America involved in this thing - outsiders, insiders, old, young."
The celebrated Reagan speechwriter voiced her opinion that the ideal candidate for her former job would be someone in their twenties or thirties.
"You should be young enough that you know the stuff of politics hasn't dampened your love and your enthusiasm. All speechwriters should be just a little dreamy," she said. "Cynicism only cuts into your work - it doesn't help it."