Richard Waterman shall share all data and coding for replication purposes. We would like to thank Sendil Nathan for his ideas and inspiration in guiding this publication.
The Teleprompter Presidency: Comparing Obama's Campaign and Governing Rhetoric†
Version of Record online: 16 OCT 2012
© 2012 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 93, Issue 5, pages 1402–1423, December 2012
How to Cite
Olson, J., Ouyang, Y., Poe, J., Trantham, A. and Waterman, R. W. (2012), The Teleprompter Presidency: Comparing Obama's Campaign and Governing Rhetoric. Social Science Quarterly, 93: 1402–1423. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00925.x
- Issue online: 5 NOV 2012
- Version of Record online: 16 OCT 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.