Quantifying the President's Speech

INSERT DESCRIPTIONDoug Mills/The New York Times

Our friends at speechwars.com have put together a really fun tool to help you mine their database of the full text of all State of the Union Addresses (even though this wasn’t technically such an address) as well as inaugurals. It’s a fun way of tracking which issues have occupied the minds of our leaders. The brains behind Speech Wars, Ben Reis, just sent me his lightning analysis of last night’s speech:

Obama is the first president in history to use the words “bailouts,” “laundry,” “drapes,” “cyber,” “messes,” and “pandemic” in a State of the Union address.

– Obama used the word “crisis” 11 times — more than twice as much as any other president. Hoover used it only four times in 1932 during the Great Depression.

– Obama said “layoffs,” “invest,” and “entrepreneurs” more than any other president.

– Obama is only the second president to use the words “ferret,” “biofuels,” and “hybrids.”

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  1. Morley says:

    For those of you who wondered who the _first_ president to say “ferret” was, it was Eisenhower in ’55.

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  2. Lisa says:

    Here’s a feminist perspective… George Washington mentioned “women” only one time in 1795. Then, no president mentioned “women” until Lincoln in 1861. Things have improved a bit since then.

    - Lisa

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  3. Dennis says:

    I’d love the speechwars folks to diversify and produce a web site that compares the politicians speeches with the eventual results of their ideas/ plans. I’d like it across all politicians from all parties, including the executive branch.

    Talks is cheap and action is expensive. Once action is taken there always will be the ever present unintended consequences, major or minor.

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  4. cyberhiber says:

    re: #2

    Things certainly have changed. Did you check to see if Geo. Washington might have mentioned “ladies” instead?

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  5. Lisa says:

    re: #4

    Here are some other feminist firsts:

    “mother” was first used by John Quincy Adams, 1826
    “mothers” James Buchanan, 1859
    “wife” Abraham Lincoln, 1862
    “wives” Ulysses Grant, 1871
    “girls” Rutherford B. Hayes, 1878
    “woman” Chester A. Arthur, 1881
    “lady” Chester A. Arthur, 1884
    “ladies” Grover Cleveland in 1888
    “daughters” Grover Cleveland in 1893
    “daughter” William Jefferson Clinton, 1999

    Interesting how the roles of women in the public eye evolved.

    - Lisa

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  6. Eric M. Jones says:

    Did anyone but me notice that First Lady Michele Obama wore a very plain dress and did not wear a necklace? I would have thought Tiffany, Fassbinder or Harry Winston would have loaned her ANYTHING.

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  7. 4tygihj4tygij says:

    we’re supposedly on the verge of a freaking crisis here we cant have the prez’s wifey wearing glitter and bling

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  8. Vin says:

    Concerning the word”crisis”, none of the other Presidents had to face 8 years of crisis background esp. the one which included engaged troops and wars in foreign countries and not just the supplying of war materials to other countries.. great depression back in the 30′s had a possible cure. supply war related stuff to other countries, but it didn’t face the aspect of actually engaging soldiers to this extent…

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