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The Problem with Presidential Databases


Martin J. Medhurst is Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication and a professor of political science at Baylor University. He is the founder and editor of the interdisciplinary quarterly Rhetoric and Public Affairs.


This article raises questions about the database of major presidential speeches proposed by Kevin Coe and Rico Neumann. Specifically, I argue that the rationale for the database is weak, the underlying philosophical problems are substantial, and the methodological flaws are serious, including a failure to follow their own criteria in the compilation of the database.