In his speech on Thursday, President Obama insisted he wanted to work with Republicans on the budget. That no party has monopoly on solutions. Things that, you know, he's said before. So we decided to figure out his favorite topics of conversation.
We were inspired to dig into the topic by this tweet from New York's Dan Amira.
Feels like Obama has given this speech about "working together to solve problems" about 45 times during his presidency— Dan Amira (@DanAmira) October 17, 2013
And as it turns out, Amira was underestimating.
The White House website has a catalog of Obama's official statements going back to the beginning of his presidency. It's not entirely complete, leaving out some press conferences, for example. But it gives a pretty solid assessment of what the president is talking about at any given time. So we pulled all of his speeches from 2013 — more than 550 of them — and set up a tool to search them for certain phrases.
Here, for example, are the phrases Amira was wondering about. In only a dozen or so did Obama talk about solving problems, but in more than 170 he talked about working together.
This, of course, only whet our appetite. We also wanted to know which of the president's three priorities from his speech — immigration, the budget, and the Farm Bill — had been the most common topic in past speeches. The winner? The budget — but not by as much as you'd think.
Then there are the other big topics of the year. Obama talked about nothing more than jobs.
How about health care? Obama used the more poll-friendly name "Affordable Care Act" than "Obamacare" — but not by much.
He likes talking about conversations more than negotiations.
He likes talking about Chicago more than he likes talking about John Boehner.
He likes talking about spending more than he likes talking about taxing.
He likes talking about the middle class more than he likes to talking about working families.
And — most importantly — his favorite member of his family is obvious.
There are qualifications to this, of course. At least one of his "Bo" mentions, for example, was of Bo Jackson. (In 2013.) But the moral of the lesson is clear: We don't have to write about the shutdown anymore and can instead make fun graphs.