Presidential Forecast: Mostly Cloudy

Political debates have been known to generate a lot of hot air but not clouds — until now. Following the first presidential debates, Janet Harris, president of media analysis firm Upstream Analysis, created “tag clouds” that provide a visual display of the 50 words used most often by candidates in both parties. More frequently used terms are depicted in larger type. Tag clouds typically appear on social networking sites as a way to indicate the most popular content tags, or keywords.

Among top Democratic contenders, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s top words were “president,” “ready,” “health,” and “care,” while Sen. Barack Obama’s included “going,” “women,” and “intelligence.” Sen. Chris Dodd was the wonkiest, favoring words like “administration,” “multinational,” and “stateless.” By contrast, Sen. John Edwards used everyday language to convey more emotional themes with words like “America,” “united” and “believe.”

On the Republican side, “New York” was not surprisingly a favorite of front-runner Rudy Giuliani, who also invoked Ronald Reagan more than any other candidate, according to UpStream’s Harris. Sen. John McCain shared with Sen. Clinton a fondness for the word “president,” suggesting a bi-partisan desire to occupy the Oval Office.

On the techPresident blog, which also posted the candidates’ tag clouds, associate editor Joshua Levy quipped that Sen. Joe Biden’s frequent use of the words “talk” and “talking,” “supports the popular conception of a chatty Senator from Delaware.”

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