No More ‘Freedom’ for Bush? Web Tool Analyzes State of Union Speech

By: E&P Staff

For President Bush’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, The New York Times launched an interactive tool on its Web site that counted the number of times certain words, such as Iraq, have been used in his recent SOTU speeches. It invites readers to enter their own words, no matter how obscure.

E&P played along, and this produced some perhaps telling findings.

For example, looking at Iraq-loaded words, the number of times he used “victory” dropped from five last year to two this year. “Democracy,” used eight times two years ago, was only mentioned half that number this year. “Bin Laden” dropped in usage from two times to once since last year.

But contrary to predictions that he would de-emphasize Iraq, that word actually came from his lips more than twice as often as last year– from 16 to 34. And “war” skyrocketed from two to 11.

But “strong” took a hit, down to three from seven. And “economic” or “economy” tumbled from 23 references to just eight. Whatever happened to “social security”? It got 18 mentions two years ago and just two this year.

“God” was invoked just once tonight, half as often as last year.

And perhaps most revealing of all: New Orleans, mentioned twice last year, got no play at all this year.

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