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On the Records: A Cloudy Governor's Race

What do "word clouds" tell us about the rhetoric in the governor's race.

Perry campaign word cloud visualizes press releases in recent weeks.

As Reeve Hamilton wrote today, Gov. Rick Perry's campaign spokesman typically attaches "liberal trial lawyer" to Democratic opponent Bill White, who hasn't worked at a law firm since 1993.

To visualize this rhetorical strategy, we created "word clouds" from the campaign's press releases over the last month. The size of the words increase based on the frequency of use, and it's clear that Bill, White and Liberal are among the most frequently used -- as are lawyer and trial

Contrast the Perry campaign's style with that of the White campaign, which, BTW, sends far fewer press releases. Perry is there, of course, but White also frequently uses Texas, school and students -- which fits his recent focus on education and the state's dropout rate.

Notes: Word clouds are created with, which doesn't factor in the most common prepositions. We also tried to eliminate boilerplate language from press releases, such as the e-mail signatures used by the campaigns. In short, this isn't science, but it does offer a visual sense of how the campaigns are framing the race to reporters.  

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