Leading with words? Emotion and style in the language of U.S. President Clinton's public communications

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Leading with words? Emotion and style in the language of U.S. President Clinton's public communications

Samples of U. S. President Clinton's public communications were scored with a computer program for the emotional undertones of their words, for the proportional occurrence of negations and very common words, and for the use of first and second person pronouns. The first two measures address emotion, the remaining ones style. Measures successfully discriminated (97% correct classification) formal communications from informal ones and informal communications where the President was physically present with his audience from those where he was not (90%). Classification for two sets of validation samples was very strong (90%). Measures discriminated President Clinton's Executive Orders from President G. W. Bush's. Discriminant functions based on emotional measures alone were almost as successful as those including measures of style (no more than 8% fewer correct classifications). Results are interpreted in terms of theories of persuasive presidential rhetoric.

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