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The words behind the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden drives

September 19, 2008 |  4:25 pm

It no doubt comes as a real shock to most Americans that presidential campaigns end up selling stuff to raise money and advertise their brand names.


T-shirts, hats, buttons, stuffed donkeys and elephants, pennants, mugs, books, you name it.

Pretty soon, we expect some kind of Sarah Palin lipstick button. Former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney even had a political button collection, one for all 50 states (Alabamans for Romney, etc.), that some of us button collectors wished we'd bought.

Which is interesting from a kitsch point of view.

But what our clever website buddy Paul Olund did was wade through all the advertising for this stuff and create a tag cloud, which allows us to see word patterns otherwise hidden.

What themes, for instance, does the John McCain campaign add to its merchandise to help sell its message? What themes does Barack Obama use?

Obviously, the top candidate's name is most used. But you might be surprised to see what various themes emerge from each campaign. Go here and check out Paul's good work.

-- Andrew Malcolm