Obama Stays Consistent on Debt Ceiling Message

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ABOVE: A word cloud showing the most common terms used by President Barack Obama during his speech July 24.

BELOW:  A word cloud showing the most common terms used by Obama during his speech Sunday.


NEW YORK (MainStreet) —  President Barack Obama held a press conference Sunday night to announce Congress had reached a tentative compromise on the debt ceiling.

The plan, which awaits formal approval by the House and the Senate, would increase the debt ceiling by $900 billion under a agreement that would cut at least $2.4 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

While many Americans may be critical of the proposed plan itself – which contains a trigger that would institute across-the-board spending cuts if a bipartisan committee can’t agree what to slash – they can’t really accuse Obama of changing his tone. A side-by-side comparison reveals that the president’s recent speech was quite similar to the one he delivered July 24, based on the words he repeatedly used.

After plugging last night’s speech into a word cloud generator, MainStreet found that the president continued to emphasize “compromise” and use the words “balanced” and “approach.” Other repeats were the words “spending,” “Congress,” “economy” and “American,” though the President dropped the “s.”

Also interesting was Obama’s decision to refer to previous commander-in-chiefs. Last night’s speech included a shout-out to Dwight D. Eishenhower, while last week’s speech mentioned Ronald Reagan.

But while the president stayed on message, he seemed to have a slightly more positive outlook in last night’s address. Both speeches frequently referenced our “deficit” and the possibility of “default,” but Obama dropped “dangerous” for “confidence,” and thanked Americans for urging Congress to reach a compromise.

“I want to thank the American people,” Obama said. “It’s been your voices — your letters, your emails, your tweets, your phone calls — that have compelled Washington to act in the final days. And the American people's voice is a very, very powerful thing.”

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