Speech Wars

Marc Ambinder tips us to this site, where you can check the frequency of words used in inaugural addresses. “Non-believers”, “muslims” and “data” were words used for the first time by Obama today. The first one really jumped out at me as it’s the first time I can recall that a President has acknowledged atheists (I’m not one, incidentally, but I play one on the internet).

It’s a fun tool to play with. Something interesting I found: “God” barely shows up at all in speeches until Lincoln and hits its peak under Reagan. “Slaves” and “slavery” were basically unsaid until Lincoln. Bush was the most prominent user of “freedom” and “liberty”, ironically enough. “Security” peaked with Truman. Obama only said change once, far less than Clinton, Johnson or Taft. So apparently, Taft was change we could believe in before Obama was. Who knew?

Still waiting for someone to say “suckers”.

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