Marketplace Scratch Pad

Crunching the words

Scott Jagow Jan 28, 2010

On Marketplace each night, we “do the numbers.” But today, I’d like to “do the words.” The words used in a State of the Union address are a pretty good gauge of the country’s current challenges and priorities. I took the text of last night’s speech and several previous SOTU addresses and and fed them into the engine at Wordle.net. It spits out what I’d call a word painting. Let’s see if you can guess which one is last night’s speech.

Click on each box below to get a full-screen view. The answers are below SOTU #8, so don’t scroll down too far if you’re challenging yourself.

It’s funny how many of the words are the same over time, but each speech has a couple of words that are good hints of what decade you’re in.

The choices are: Obama 2010, Bush 2005, Clinton 1994, Reagan 1982, Kennedy 1961, FDR 1941, Lincoln 1861, Washington 1790. Alright, let’s see how you do:

SOTU #1


title=”Wordle: SOTU #1″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594048/SOTU_%231″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #1″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #2


title=”Wordle: SOTU #2″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594143/SOTU_%232″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #2″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #3


title=”Wordle: SOTU #3″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594068/SOTU_%233″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #3″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #4


title=”Wordle: SOTU #4″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594079/SOTU_%234″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #4″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #5


title=”Wordle: SOTU #5″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594094/SOTU_%235″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #5″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #6


title=”Wordle: SOTU #6″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594120/SOTU_%236″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #6″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #7


title=”Wordle: SOTU #7″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594319/SOTU_%237″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #7″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

SOTU #8


title=”Wordle: SOTU #8″>
src=”http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/1594329/SOTU_%238″
alt=”Wordle: SOTU #8″
style=”padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd”>

And the answers are…

SOTU #1 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941

SOTU #2 – George W. Bush, 2005

SOTU #3 – Barack Obama, 2010

SOTU #4 – Ronald Regan, 1982

SOTU #5 – John F. Kennedy, 1961

SOTU #6 – Bill Clinton, 1994

SOTU #7 – Abraham Lincoln, 1861

SOTU #8 – George Washington, 1790

How’d you do?

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