Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

The debate words those Republicans used

January 31, 2008 |  9:22 am

The Times' Ben Welsh has done it again. He's created another one of those word clouds that analyzes the words used over a period of time.

The last one he did studied the changing vocabulary within all of President Bush's State of the Union and budget addresses to Congress. We wrote about it in the Ticket on Tuesday. This newest word cloud examines every word in 16 major Republican debates from this political season. You can find the revealing device here on this website.

Move the slider along the line from the first Republican debate last May 3 at the Reagan Library to the most recent GOP debate in the same place last night with the four surviving candidates. You'll see how the most-used words changed -- and stayed the same -- as time passed during the campaign. The more often a word is used the larger the type.

For instance, "people," "government" and "country" were used often throughout the rhetorical confrontations. The word "crime" didn't appear much early on, but by September was uttered often into November and then disappeared again. The words "tax" or "taxes" appeared often in the spring, waned by September and then reappeared in an important way late in the Republican primary campaign.

We'll check out the same sorts of things after tonight's Democratic debate at the Kodak Theatre, which will be streamed live here and blogged live here starting at 5 p.m. PST. But that debate will have only half the participants -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Here, by the way, are some words that do not show up frequently in the GOP debate word cloud: loser, surrender, rapid, withdrawal, wonderful, Democrats, free, healthcare, amnesty, liberal and anti-business.

-- Andrew Malcolm