Interactive: In dueling commencement speeches, Romney and Obama use same words for different messages

ByChris Wilson
May 15, 2012, 10:57 AM

— -- The motivation behind Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's dueling commencement addresses over the weekend and on Monday could not have been more clear. Romney sought to buttress his standing with religious conservatives, and took the stage at Liberty University, a private Christian school. Obama focused on the achievements and challenges facing women, and thus chose to speak at Barnard College, an all-female school.

The following tool offers a guided tour of the similarities and differences in these two addresses by showcasing the most common words they share. Clicking on any given word will highlight its presence in the transcripts and allows you to skip from one instance to the next to see the context in which it was spoken. This is particularly interesting for words like "man," which the former Massachusetts governor used in both the generic sense, meaning "human," and to specify his belief that marriage is the province of a man and a woman, a comment that drew extended cheers. Obama, addressing female graduates, emphasized the progress women have made in achieving equal footing with men in the workplace.

To take another example, Romney mentioned "faith" six times, always in a religious context, while Obama said the world twice, speaking of "faith in institutions" and his personal confidence that graduates would succeed.


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