Parsing Obama’s words — all 670,000 of them

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

You don’t need to be political guru Larry Sabato to know that President Obama is trying to keep his focus on a handful of key domestic issues and away from an unpopular war in Iraq and the deepening conflict in Afghanistan, both inheritances from the last administration.

Today’s Politico has a fascinating study looking at exactly what the president has said since his inauguration, word by word — all half-million plus of them

Not surprisingly,  the study concludes Obama’s  focus has been overwhelmingly domestic, despite major foreign policy crises.  He has uttered the word “health”  1653 time since taking office, “Iraq” only  373 times.

When he does talk about foreign countries, Israel garnered 219 mentions, behind Iran and Iraq. He mentioned the Palestinians only 132 times (note to The Israel Project: no, it’s probably not a good idea to put out a press release headlined “Presidential Word Count Shows: America Favors Israel!”)

The analysis also shows a president eager to avoid some major domestic  hot-button issues  as he focuses on a faltering fight for sweeping health care reform.

He uttered the word “abortion” only 15 times, “immigration” only 39 – bad news for Jewish groups that continue to hope for a major immigration reform measure this year.

The two big winners in the war of the words: “economy” and “health.”  No big surprise there, right?

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.