Comparing President Trump’s Inaugural Address to President Obama’s First Inaugural Address

Note: This post is provided without political slant or intention. It is meant only as a statistical analysis of the texts, as provided to media outlets, of the first inaugural addresses from Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States and Barack H. Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

Inaugural addresses are the first chance a sitting President has to speak to the people he begins serving after the oath of office is taken. From a dais on the steps of the United States Capitol, President Donald J. Trump delivered a 16-minute speech containing 1,433 words compared to the 19-minute speech given by President Barack Obama in 2009 which contained 2,395 words.

Word Use

Section Note: The following word clouds were created using official transcripts of each speech as provided to the media (Trump source link, Obama source link). Often these transcripts include the word “applause” to note where long periods of applause either occurred or were planned. For the sake of accuracy as to the speeches themselves, I have removed that word from the data set. All other words are presented without edit. Word Clouds were created using free online tool at because I’m on paternity leave and don’t have access to anything else right now. UPDATE 1/20/17 3:33 PM PST : For the record, I hate word clouds and contemplated literally just adding an Excel table with counts of words, but people love word clouds. Why? We’ll never know.

The following is the word cloud from President Trump’s 2017 inaugural address:


The following is the word cloud from President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address:

Obama Cloud.png

The top words should come to no surprise to anyone given the two Presidents’ campaign messages leading into their first terms, with President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and President Obama’s “Yes We Can” messaging mixing with the words you would expect – American, American, nation, country etc.

President Trump’s address contained 470 unique words, while President Obama’s 2009 address contained 807 unique words.

Readability and Relative Grade Level

Section note: These scores were created by analyzing the text provided for each speech using the Microsoft Word Readability tool, which creates a score for the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level indices. For more information about these indices, including how they are calculated, click the link for the readability tool

Using the Microsoft Word Readability tool, which creates a score for the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level indices, the speeches were scored as following:

  • Trump
    • Flesch Reading Ease: 62.4
    • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8th Grade (8.3)
  • Obama (2009)
    • Flesch Reading Ease: 67.5
    • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8th Grade (8.1)

Both speeches come  near the bands  generally accepted as “target” zones for mass-circulated documents and speeches, with 60-70 being the target for Flesch Reading Ease and 7.0 to 8.0 being the target for Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.

Bonus Content: Presidential Inaugural Speech Length Over Time

The chart below shows the length of Presidential Inaugural speeches from George Washington to Donald Trump, (source link):


I understand this is hard to read – for ease of understanding, I’ve added a live link to the Excel below.

You will notice the chart does not include inaugural addresses from each President of the United States. This is because a number of Presidents did not give inaugural addresses as their rise to the office was due to the line of succession. Those include:

  • John Tyler who succeeded after the death of William Henry Harrison
  • Millard Fillmore who succeeded after the death of Zachary Taylor
  • Andrew Johnson who succeeded after the death of Abraham Lincoln
  • Chester Arthur who succeeded after the death of James Garfield
  • Gerald Ford who succeeded after the resignation of Richard Nixon

Image Note: The image used at the top of the page is from President Obama’s second Inauguration.

A Look at President Obama’s Last State of the Union Address

Just weeks away from the first vote for who will take over the White House, President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address – something he is required, by law, to do “from time to time.”

As I’ve done before, I wanted to take a look at the words used and their frequency. It’s unscientific, non-partisan, and completely quick (because done is better than perfect).

I look at these things through the eyes of a marketer and a writer – not as a politico.

In case you forgot how word clouds work, or have never seen one before (have you been living under a rock?), this little tiny gnome inside my computer looks at President Obama’s speech, takes his clipboard and makes a tally mark every time he reads a word. Then, that gnome files all the necessary paperwork with his boss and starts typing this words into the computer (this is all happening fairly quickly) and makes the ones with the most tally marks bigger than those with few tally marks. So, the more a word is used in the speech, the bigger the word. Pretty simple. No, gnomes aren’t real… yet.

Here it is:

Word Cloud SOTU

Pretty obviously, America/American jump out. I’m going to remove some of the larger words (like those) and years (as it’s not really a descriptive or active word) to take another look.

sotu word cloud 2

Removing those words actually gives you a real look at many of the key messages of Obama’s speech: Work, People, Economy, Change, etc.

Word cloud created at  via official White House transcript available at

UPDATE: 1/12/2016 08:05 PM PACIFIC

I managed to catch the last bit of the Republican Response, so I ran the text of that speech through the gnome-powered word cloud generator as well:



Who’s next?

Well, that was fun.

It’s rare that you get a government scandal and a funny name (that so perfectly maps to said scandal), but there are some candidates in the House and Senate. Let’s look at the possibilities:

The House

  • Speaker John Boehner – Say it however you want, buddy – we only see it one way in our heads.
  • Marcia Fudge (Ohio 10th) – I don’t want to hear the details when this scandal surfaces.
  • Johnson (Bill, Ohio 6th; Eddie, Texas 30th; Henry, Georgia 4th; Sam, Texas 3rd; and Timothy, Illinois 15th) – Let’s face it, we all love crotch humor.

The Senate

  • Mike Crapo (Idaho) – Again, not another scandal that you want to talk about at the dinner table.
  • Johnson (Ron, Wisconsin & Tim, South Dakota)

Statistical Analysis

NOTE: If you know me, you know I hate numbers. Therefore, this data assumes the next scandal will in fact happen so someone with a funny/appropriate name for the scandal.

Chances the Scandal Will Be In House vs. Senate

Chances the Person Involved will be a Democrat vs. Republican

Chances the Person will have the last name Johnson

Chances It’ll be Funny As Hell


Looks like anyone with the last name Johnson should make their Twitter/FB accounts private and keep their PR teams on DEF-CON 1. That is, unless that asipring politician Dick Vaginaburg gets elected in the next cycle.

White House Drops the Secrecy on some Drupal, Open Sourcers Drop some Deuces in their Drawers

If you’re part of the Open Source community, you’ve no doubt heard about the White House releasing bits and pieces of the open source code they use on their site.

If you’re not part of the Open Source community, you’ve no doubt moved out of your mom’s basement and are leading a full life…

I kid, I kid. I actually have a great love for the open source community after working with a Linux on Itanium group, Gelato. Mmmmm, Gelato.

The big news isn’t what these different bits of Drupal do, but the fact that the White House and the federal government are taking ownership (and letting go of it at the same time) of their place in the technology world. What was once secret is now open and darn it all to heck if it probably will make for a better computing world.

So, cheers to the White House… now let’s talk about net neutrality.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Where Technology Goes to Die



I never really stopped to think that I probably have more up-to-date equipment in my home office than they do in the White House until I started reading the stories coming in about antiquated technologies piled high at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I’m pretty sure my creating LOLcats, blogging incessantly and getting lost in a stream of tweets isn’t nearly as important as some of the things WH staffers need to be doing on their machines.

Now, I know security is a big issue here and that’s important. Wouldn’t want something to happen like a special agent getting outted… what? That happened? And it didn’t involve a Mac?

Seriously though, I think it’s high-time the U.S. starts making technology a leading issue in government. How can we expect continued growth and change in government if we’re taking these extremely bright, educated, and tech-savvy people and throwing them in a dimly lit room with a couple of Packard Bell boxes running on Pentium IIs? The kids on Obama’s social media team probably have more processing power in their pockets (iPhones and BBerries) than they do in their collective offices.

I was really stoked to see the first pictures of POTUSBO in his office, half-hoping, half-expecting there to be a MacBook Pro sitting on his desk, or at least a ThinkPad. However, that dream isn’t going to be played out anytime soon I’m guessing… although he did brush away Bush’s “coats required” rule on his first day in the Oval.

Do I expect the Obama presidency to be a blogtastic romp through the social media universe? Not really. Did I expect them to at least operate on the levels they were during the lead-up to the inauguration – kind of. Was I expecting that I would feel so bad for the staffers I called up my mom to see if we still had our old HP towers still sitting in the garage because I knew they could use the kick from P2s to P4s? Oh yeah.

America is changing. It’s not your fathers’ and grandfathers’ time at the helm for too much longer. We’ll play the little “oh, it’s just bureaucracy at work and the regs are too stiff” game for a while.

But when we take charge of the bridge, we’d at least like the screens to be backlit LEDs, not CRTs. K, thanks.