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Word Cloud: President Obama State of the Union Address 2011

Mike Santoro

What did the president say last night? From the pundit's reaction it was a pretty bland speech with typical political references to innovation and investment but light on specifics. In light of how the country has changed I figured I’d go back to what I did last year and look at it using a word cloud.

2011 State of the Union Word Cloud:

2010 State of the Union Word Cloud:

Last year the president focused a lot on "jobs" and "work". You see those terms appeared again thrown in there along with "business" and "businesses". It was a main theme from his last speech and with the economy only slightly improved it continues to weigh heavily on the minds of Americans.

One difference seems to be a discussion around education. You see “students”, “schools”, “children”, and “education” as fairly big words in the cloud. Education and investment in students was a big theme last night.

Also present in this year’s speech that wasn’t there last year a prevalence of words like “innovation”, “energy”, “technology”, and even “internet”. This is related to the above words and, I suspect, closely tied to two other major words in the cloud, “government” and “spending”. You also see “deficit” appear, but many believe this was a speech that called for cuts, but not at the abandonment of investment in research and innovation to propel the country ahead.

What words jump out at you? One last thing I noticed, the president appears to have received less “laughter” from the audience than he did last year, though before I stripped out “Applause” it was just as prevalent as 2010. The State of the Union never fails to get Congress clapping.

Thanks to Wordle for the cool word cloud tech.