Author Topic: How often President Obama actually talks about himself  (Read 218 times)

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Offline EC

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How often President Obama actually talks about himself
« on: July 17, 2014, 04:41:58 AM »
Found this a very interesting read. I know it isn't rigorous, but it is fun.

"Obama," the National Journal's Ron Fournier fretted in a column on Tuesday, "leans on three words that should be virtually banned from the vocabulary of any leader: I, me, and my." It's of a piece with Fournier's long-standing criticism of Obama: If he'd only use the right words in the right combination, the frustrations of Washington would fall away.

We were curious, though, if Fournier's argument held water -- if President Obama was unusually fond of referring to himself. Fournier offers some select anecdotes to argue his point, but we figured it was worth actually looking to see if this was the case.

We took a dozen or more speeches, comments, and radio addresses from the last three presidents in June and July of the second year of their second terms and counted the instances of "I," "me," and "my." And Fournier is actually right: Our counts showed that Obama mentioned himself 835 times in the 31,123 words we counted in 16 speeches. That's 2.68 percent of the time. Which is higher than the percentage for George Bush: 2.25 percent (897 uses in 39,810 words in 14 speeches). And it's higher than the percentage for Bill Clinton, if barely: 2.6 percent (676 uses in 26,031 words in 12 speeches).

But it seems hard to believe that this is what Fournier really meant, that out of every 10,000 words spoken by a president, Obama will use the word "I" eight more times than Bill Clinton. Especially given how unevenly distributed the uses are, which is probably a function of the random way in which we picked out the examples. (Each includes a press conference, a weekly radio address, and a fundraiser among the other random assortment.)

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