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Words we’re not hearing at the GOP convention

The New York Times has a great interactive feature up today on the words and phrases that have been used most at the Republican convention in Tampa and how they’ve been used, based on transcripts of speeches through Wednesday night from the Federal News Service. Beyond the obvious mentions of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and ...

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York Times has a great interactive feature up today on the words and phrases that have been used most at the Republican convention in Tampa and how they’ve been used, based on transcripts of speeches through Wednesday night from the Federal News Service.

Beyond the obvious mentions of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Barack Obama — plus boilerplate convention terms like "leadership" and "success" — what jumps out at you is the preponderance of economy-centric terms like "work" (200 mentions), "business" (198 mentions), and "jobs" (175 mentions). Foreign-policy words — "war" (21 mentions), "immigration" (21 mentions) — are few and far between.

The results, of course, track with the GOP’s strategy to defeat Obama and with the dominant issues in the election. But the Times graphic also has a search function, and it’s fascinating to see just how often certain foreign-policy topics have been raised so far. Here are some examples:

Military

Mentions: 12

Example: "We deserve a president who will strengthen our military, not destabilize them." — Nikki Haley, governor from South Carolina

China

Mentions: 11

Example: "Folks, we are as beholden to China for bonds as we are to the Middle East for oil." — Rob Portman, senator from Ohio

Europe

Mentions: 6

Example: "[The Obama administration] wants the kind of government-imposed equality that in a single generation transformed Western Europe from a place where for centuries — for centuries high achievement and discovery and innovation were celebrated and prized to a place where they have elections about whether people should have to work, where they make promises they can’t keep and write checks they can’t cash." — Mitch McConnell, senator from Kentucky

Iraq

Mentions: 6

Example: "When they tell you America is this unequal place where the powerful trample on the powerless, does that sound like the country your children or your spouse risked their lives for in Iraq or Afghanistan?" — Artur Davis, former congressman from Alabama

Iran

Mentions: 5

Example: "[T]he president missed an historic opportunity to throw America’s full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests, ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorized the Middle East and threatens the world." — John McCain, senator from Arizona

Afghanistan

Mentions: 3

Example: "By committing to withdraw from Afghanistan before peace can be achieved and sustained, the president has discouraged our friends and emboldened our enemies, which is why our commanders did not recommend these decisions and why they have said it puts our mission at much greater risk." — John McCain, senator from Arizona

Arab Spring

Mentions: 1

Example: "Yet the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty. Internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the young, fragile democracy of Iraq." — Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state

Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, Pakistan, or terrorism

Mentions: 0

Nuclear weapons

Mentions: 0

Climate change or global warming

Mentions: 0

Romney campaign staffers are currently dropping hints that tonight’s speakers will focus on the candidate’s personal story and vision for the country, as will Romney himself. In other words, don’t bet on a sudden uptick in foreign-policy lingo on the last night of the convention. 

 Twitter: @UriLF

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