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Obama 2008 Campaign Speeches

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    Dear Friends from overseas,

    I am a student from Germany, studying political sciences. Currently I am preparing my Master Thesis. Therein I would like to compare the election campaigns of Barack Obama (2008) and DJT (2016), using a text mining approach.

    Therefore I am looking for a list of Obamas speeches, given during his primary campaign as well as his presidential campaign. For any ideas where to find such a list, or how to construct one myself I would be most grateful.

    Does anyone have an estimation, how much speeches are given throughout such a pair of campaigns? Are we talking about hundreds of speeches? Even more than 500?

    Maybe someone could even suggest someone I should be asking for transcripts?

    With best regards, still sad about the end of Obamas second turn and with best wishes from Germany

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    You are studying "political sciences".Personally I think "speeches" are only an distraction. The "sciences" should be more concentrated on "actions" and "facts". Beautiful speeches; Hitler gave a lot of those as well; it ended in an disaster.
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    I get, what you are saying. Indeed, facts and actions are what matters, not speeches.

    Still, speeches can be used as indicators, measuring positions held and strategies used by the speaker. In a free society it is not forbidden to ask for the characteristics of those features. Even for those of Hitler.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Well I just Googled "Obama Speeches" and this came up immediately.

    americanrhetoric.com/barackobamaspeeche...

    Every Obama speech from 2004 to January 2017. It took me 5 seconds to find it.

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    Thank you very much! I recently found this site too.

    It is just hard to imagine for me, that Obama just held around 16 speeches during his first campaign. I assume there must be several hundreds.

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    This looks useful: presidency.ucsb.edu/2008_election_speec...

    Still I am grateful for any further information and suggestions :)

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Yes, the website I provided only lists major speeches. It does not cover the almost daily dialogues he had with reporters and others at press conferences, one-on-one interviews with the media including social networking websites, and just conversations at events. Those have to be dug out mostly one by one.

    Some of his answers to questions have been criticized as too long winded (almost a short speech in itself), but in a sense every question asked does not lend itself to a sound bite or Tweet. The issues are complicated.

    President Obama's appeal to people like me is that he has thought very deeply about every issue, so when he answers a question those views come out with sincerity. He does not tell one audience one thing and another audience another thing like Trump does. Obama's message have been consistent from his first campaign for office in Illinois to today. He might have tweaked the tactics somewhat, but everyone who has followed him, knows exactly where he stands on every issue.

    He is the same person today as he was in 2004 and earlier...perhaps a bit wiser and more wary to the ruthless politics of Republicans. The 2009 Obama was perhaps a bit naïve in his belief that he could work with Republicans. He did not anticipate how much they hated him and that they would be so obstructionist. Much of it was racially driven.

    I knocked on some 700 doors for Obama in his 2012 campaign to be re-elected. Most were good Americans, but I encountered many haters as well.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    One of the most eloquent communicators of the last 50 years. He is badly missed.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Amen
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    Wow, thank you so much, Schmidt. Consistency of content between different target groups and over time is a very interesting variable to analyze. I think there is a good chance to show this differences in consequence between Obama and DJT.

    Although I assume to be able to show that Obamas speeches are more complex and probably cover a wider area of topics.

    An analysis of the differences between primary and general election might be promising, too.

    And I miss him too. In Germany it looks like the contrast to DJT could not be any larger.

    Best

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I should not leave the impression that Obama's political views remained unchanged. His views on gay marriage, for example "evolved" as society changed. And he was known to strike many compromises on pieces of legislation in order to advance his broader agenda. He was largely criticized by liberals for every compromise. Many of the Bernie supporters are now planning on running for offices promising "no compromises". That's exactly what the Tea Party Republicans promised: No compromises.

    The other point I would make is that Obama always looked at the long term. He was willing to sacrifice in the short term to solidify the long term.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    Anselm, What kind of information could you get from text mining. The effect of most speeches is influenced by the delivery. I would be interested to know how a literal examination provides information. Does it reflect an understanding of the author?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Both my link and Anselm's provide tabs for audio/media.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/medialist.php?presid=44

    You really need both as well as the political atmosphere at the time of delivery. For example, Obama's speech on religion was made as a response to the Reverend Wright's sermons.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    Both my link and Anselm's provide tabs for audio/media.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/medialist.php?presid=44

    You really need both as well as the political atmosphere at the time of delivery. For example, Obama's speech on religion was made as a response to the Reverend Wright's sermons.

    Schmidt,Since it is a graduate paper I wonder if Anselm is looking for a way to present emotions technically. Those speeches are bland if delivered in a monotone from a speaker. Adding emotions to AI. A persuasive robot to replace management or a face to face hostage negotiator. Or a friend?

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    Again, thank you so much for your suggestions. Following I will answer various questions:

    1. What information could I get from text mining?

    There are various kinds of analysis, that can be conducted by using text mining. It is important to have in mind, that text mining is used on large amounts of text that can not be analyzed by reading it manually (at least not reliably and without brave research assistants). Basically one can count the number of words as a proxy for the coverage of topics. One could also use topic analyses or cooccurrence-tests to discover, which topics are covered and to get a better understanding of the framing and connotation of those topics. Advanced techniques include sentiment analysis, which promises to be able to measure the tone of a whole speech or passages mentioning certain aspects (for example policy areas, running mates or other candidates).

    2. Will I implement the reactions of the crowd?

    I don't think so. First, it would be very difficult, as text mining first transforms speeches into a bag-of-word. This is a well-established method and it delivers not perfect but reliable results. Measuring the reaction of the crowd would demand for a linkage of special passages within a speech with the crowds reaction. Albeit this could probably work by introducing a meta-information, it would boost the complexity of my project a lot. This brings me to my second point: I am not sure, in what dimensions the reactionsof the crowd could provide analytical variation. Even if I would be able to measure, how loud the crowd cheered, it would be no surprise, that both candidates get a lot of cheering and applause. An interesting aspect is, though, (has there to be a comma? I'm sorry...) to measure WHAT the listeners chanted exactly. Probably there would be much less, if any, hateful and negative slogans shouted by the Obama-crowds.

    3. Does my method reflect the reading of the author (I understand this as you are referring to me as the author (of the thesis))?

    Yes. I will deduct hypotheses from well-established theoretical frameworks on various topics. Then I conduct a systematic examination of those hypotheses. Therefore it should be transparent and reproducable how I came to my results and conclusions.

    4. Will I take the context and "style" of delivery into account?

    This is another important suggestion, I am most grateful for! Indeed, I could implement hypotheses about the influence of certain political incidents on the contents of the speech. The style of delivery is another very important point. For example I will measure the length of sentences, the characters of the sentence structure and the number of words used (as in vocabulary).

    Do you have other aspects of "delivery" in mind?

    All the best to you!