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  • Obama vs. his predecessors in State of the Union’s focus on colleges: An interactive tool

    The Chronicle of Higher Education - 01/21/2015

    President Obama said the words “college” or “colleges” 12 times in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, which seems like a relatively high figure for a speech—and a nation—full of issues. How does Mr. Obama’s focus on higher education in the address compare to that of other presidents?

    The work of Benjamin M. Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a viewable answer. Using a database containing the text of every State of the Union message, Mr. Schmidt created an interactive graphic that lets users compare presidents based on how many times they uttered (or wrote, for pre-Woodrow Wilson presidents) a word or phrase per million words. The interactive tool also lets users click to see each example of the word or phrase.

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