SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Objectives

Are the skills presidents require to be elected the same skills they will need once they assume office? Is there a change in rhetoric between presidential campaigning and presidential governing? The objective of this article is to examine those questions.

Methods

We compare candidate Barack Obama's campaign speeches with his governing speeches to determine if his rhetoric on the campaign trail provides the basis for his later governance. We compare speeches on certainty, positivity, and inclusiveness.

Results

We find that, in general, Obama's campaign and governing rhetoric are consistent, suggesting that he used the rhetoric of the campaign to help build a basis for governance. We find no statistical difference in the level of certainty or inclusiveness that he used before or after taking office.

Conclusions

We conclude that most differences between presidential campaign rhetoric and governing rhetoric, at least in the case of Barack Obama, seem to be caused by the specifics of the political environment.