Obama and Romney 2012 Convention Speech Analysis — Word Cloud Style

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Obama Romney Convention Speech ComparisonNo time to watch the President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s speeches at the Democratic and Republican (respectively) conventions? You’re about to get the highlights in 30 seconds — word cloud style.

We’re usually helping clients secure motivational keynote speakers for their business conventions and conferences rather than breaking down political speeches here at The Speakers Group, but I thought it would be fun and interesting — emphasis on fun — to compare President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s convention acceptance speeches side-by-side in word cloud format.

If you look at the words alone, what were the U.S. presidential candidates talking about the most? Let’s see…

Mitt Romney’s Speech Word Cloud

Romney spoke first, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday, August 30, so we’ll look at his word cloud first. (By the way, this is created by pasting Romney’s speech transcript into the Wordle web app, which discounts all the common words like “a,” “an,” “the,” etc. and gives “greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”) Here it is:

Mitt Romney Republican Convention Speech 2012 Word Cloud

Romney’s Top 10

Based on the size of the word “America,” you can tell that it was said far more frequently than any other word. Here are the top 10 words spoken by Romney — again, not counting the “common words”:

  1. America – 53 times
  2. Americans – 21 times
  3. President – 21 times
  4. American – 18 times
  5. World – 18 times
  6. Better – 17 times
  7. Every – 15 times
  8. Future – 13 times
  9. Job – 13 times
  10. Jobs – 13 times
  11. Obama 13 times

(Okay, so it’s a “Top 11,” but there was a tie.)

President Obama’s Speech Word Cloud

President Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, and when we paste his speech transcript into the Wordle tool, here’s what we get:

President Obama Democratic Convention Speech 2012

Obama’s Top 10

Obviously no one word jumps out the way “America” does in Romney’s speech. Here’s Obama’s top 10:

  1. New – 20 times
  2. Future – 16 times
  3. Jobs – 16 times
  4. America – 15 times
  5. Years – 14 times
  6. Believe – 13 times
  7. Hope – 12 times
  8. Must – 12 times
  9. Pay – 12 times
  10. Workers – 10 times

(By the way, you might find it interesting to compare either of the 2012 speeches to Obama’s word cloud from his 2008 speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, based on this transcript. “Promise” was his #1 word outside the list of common words in that speech, spoken 31 times, followed by “America,” spoken 22 times.)

What’s Your Take?

If you watched or listened to the speeches, how did these words resonate with you?

Or if you’re just seeing these words for the first time, what are your immediate observations?

Is the frequency of the words spoken significant to you?

Chime in and discuss!


  1. Interesting analysis. The thing that jumps out to me from this is how often Romney says “America.” This is interesting but it really says nothing, given that both candidates are Americans (sorry Birthers!) and all the voters are Americans. It’s really an excellent measure of how vacuous Romney was.

    • Gov. Romney’s words unfortunately didn’t have cadence that moves an audience to mirror and verbally interact. Obama a bit moreso. The word cloud must light up both the analytical and pleasure center of the brain, making it memorable, so it keys into memory. Humor does this. Reasoning the message alone doesn’t. It must have power.
      We marvel at speakers and orators who get audiences on their feet, engaged in a vocal-echo response, actually a dialogue with speaker. Making THEM count. An audience doesn’t care until the speaker does. Think Clinton today. (His word cloud subliminally says ‘cheezeburger and fries too!)
      But if an audience passively sits and listens, where’s commitment? Used to be audiences remembered 30%. Today, shorter attention spans and personal electronics in meetings, like texting, cut that down to 18%. You can’t collect all the smart phones! The only way I got psychiatric patients or later cruise passengers to emotionally focus, was making group counseling and shows really participatory, interactive, above all, about them. And never a power point distraction.
      Take a negative, imagine Ann Coulter’s Word Cloud. She fires them up, sells books. Perhaps her brain cloud subliminally says in sorrow, “I’ve been hurt. Love me, please.” At least there’s feeling- and a response.
      A minister once asked, “Did my sermon inspire you?” “Well yes…” “But what?” “You didn’t challenge me to do a commitment this week. ‘Deciding’ isn’t ‘doing’.” For speakers, it’s an honor to listen, then teach. So many individuals are running on empty these past four years.
      The reality is, nobody wants to be lectured to or feel they’re back in school. So a word cloud devoid of ego, replaced with empathy, not sympathy, is a home-run for the human spirit. And hilarious humor, not sarcasm.
      Because we’re all waiting for the next time that we can laugh. Cognitive Humor makes your word cloud pop. May you have happy surprises today!

  2. Thanks for reading and sharing your take, TJ!

  3. C.R. McMullen says:

    Obama #6, #7, #8, #9, #10 as a phrase = “Believes Hope Must Pay Workers”

    This is because we don’t have the jobs necessary to pay workers.

  4. lallouette joelle says:

    Back to the cavemen!that’s fun OK,so I enjoyed it;yet language developed,why did Obama use the present perfect so often?Just listing words hardly makes sense. I thought real ideas mattered so I was expecting a comparison
    Thanks for your job anyway,what a real democracy is all about,without signing up on facebook or twitter,let’s speak our minds for a better future! thank you again!

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