Republican Phrases Pop Up in GOP Presidential Debate

During last night’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire, the Republican messaging machine was clearly on display. Based on CNN’s debate transcript, here is a list of some of the most popular Republican words and phrases used during the debate, and a rough count of how many times each term was used by the candidates:

“Obamacare” — 23 times

“Constitution” or “Constitutional” — 14 times

“Right-to-work” — 9 times

“Pro-life” — 6 times

“Create jobs” or “Job creation” — 4 times

“Cut taxes”, “Job killer” or Job-killing”, and “Pro-growth (tie) — 3 times

“Raising taxes” or “Raise taxes” — 2 times

“Cut spending” — 2 times

“De-fund” — 2 times

“Obama depression” — 2 times

Honorable mention to:

“Less regulation”

“Power grab”


“Lower taxes”

“Shrink government”

“Reduce regulation”

“Card check”


So what’s the lesson here, other than that anyone who played the “Obamacare” drinking game during last night’s debate would have needed actual health care within the first 15 minutes? The lesson is that the words and phrases listed above, many of which Republicans have been using for a long time and which are focus-group tested by Republican language coaches such as Frank Luntz, give great insight into the Republicans’ battle plans for the 2012 elections.  If you knew little about the Republicans’ positions on many issues, you could simply read this list and you would have a very good idea of what electoral strategies the GOP plans to pursue. And that’s good messaging.

Longtime U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil is famous for the quote “all politics is local”. In 2011, regarding the Republican Party, I think that quote should be modified to: “all politics is marketing”.

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