Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

What He Talked About From sports to threats to foreign countries, here are seven years of Obama’s preoccupations in the speeches he gave—charted.

Publication date: 
01/2016
Authors: 
Ryan P. Kennedy
David Lazer
Oren Tsur
What He Talked About From sports to threats to foreign countries, here are seven years of Obama’s preoccupations in the speeches he gave—charted.

Barack Obama can spin a good phrase, and while his political opponents like to say his actions don't always match his soaring rhetoric, there's no denying the man has said a lot: So far in his presidency, he's given more than 2,000 official speeches, uttering about 3.5 million different words. So what has he actually been telling us? To answer this question in a whole new way, we analysed all of Obama's speeches through the end of September and looked at how frequently different terms came up. Surprises abound: Afghanistan was the most-mentioned country after the United States. He talks football more than basketball, Pelosi more than Reid and "change" more than "hope" - except in 2012. Here's a unique look at what's really on Obama's mind.

Research Areas TOC

Computational Social Science, 21st Century Democracy, Political Networks

Computational Social Science, Political Networks

Computational Social Science, Collective Cognition

DNA and the Criminal Justice System

21st Century Democracy, Political Networks