Dear Campaign Drain,

We appreciate the push you have made during recent weeks to narrow the scope of the project and locate an argument. Your openness and honesty about the struggle involved in settling on an argument has allowed others in the class, including the professors, to contemplate the best methods for identifying, communicating, and supporting an argument with digital tools. We encourage you to continue reflection on this process in your papers.

For starters, you can use your welcome page more effectively by adding some representation of your argument. This is valuable real estate on the site–most readers will be starting their journey through your site here. Instead of just listing the four types of analysis you will be doing, give an indication of what you found. This will put readers on notice about what is coming their way.

Great image on the welcome page, but it needs to be properly sourced. It should also be given a caption that guides the reader in what to make of it, especially how it relates to your argument.

You have rounded up a good amount of useful data, but need to more explicitly link it to the argument. Now that you have nailed down the argument, you need to pass carefully back over the data and read what it says about consistency and the implications of varying patterns of consistency. Every time a new set of data is presented, you should give readers guidance on what they should take away from it.

Related to this, you need to assess the meaning of data collectively–throughout you should add your interpretation of the data given that you are studying it in conjunction with related data. Presented separately, you are limited in the amount of meaning that you can draw out of the data. If you add a statement for each data set that explains what it shows about your argument relative to the other sets, you will be getting much more mileage out of that data.

Your citations page would be most appropriately placed at the bottom of the navigation menu, as opposed to right after the welcome where you have it now. Superb job giving full citation information and breaking down the list into primary and secondary sources. Regarding your note at the bottom about doing your best to rule out biased sources: it is good to see you are thinking through this, although please know that the best historians routinely include biased sources–they just proceed carefully, taking the time to understand the bias and read the sources accordingly. If you had thrown out all biased sources you would be left without any campaign speeches, since a campaign speech by definition has a distinct bias!

You may want to combine your historical argent and historical question pages since they are both sparse, and closely relate to one another.

On the 2004 page, the introduction should be sharpened. You open with, “Bush’s campaign in 2004 — just like Obama’s in 2012 — delivered solid and clear message to the voters when we compare them to their opponents.” This goes beyond assessing the consistency of message, which is what you can back with the data. You then say, “Their campaigns were better organized and funded,” which also goes beyond your data. You continue: “They were able to reach voters with their consistent message. And that was their winning strategy.” This is closer, but even here be careful not to overstate the claim. Your argument is that a consistent message in public addresses is an indicator of strength. This is a more modest, but still important, claim. Phillip appropriately constrained the argument when you guys presented on Wednesday, and that sense of constraint needs to be distributed throughout what you present.

Much of the 2004 is presented as a comparison with 2012 throughout. There should be some mention to the site visitors indicating why this is all happening on the 2004 page? Where is Kerry on the 2004 page (we clearly told you earlier to include Kerry data)? Comparing Bush’s performance in 2004 to Obama’s in 2012 doesn’t have the same effect because they weren’t running against each other. You say at the end of the page, “This [the Fusion table] is just another great tool in our arsenal and allows us to compare two different approaches used by Bush and Kerry.” But data on Kerry has not been presented.

For the videos on the 2004 page, the viewer should be given some indication on what conclusion you drew after watching the videos. They want to hear your expert opinion on what the comparison says about your argument. If you want to hold this until after they view the videos, that is okay, but you should not leave the sources without any interpretation.

For the 2004 page Fusion Table, a clearer connection needs to be made between the geographic campaigning pattern and rhetorical consistency. The 2008 Fusion table presentation is stronger in that it includes information from both the Obama and McCain campaigns, and the surrounding text describes the consistency of locations for delivering economic messages, although still leaves the reader unclear about the connection between words spoken and the location of the audience. The same can be said of the spatial analysis on the 2012 page.

The 2008 page shows persuasively that messages were repeated verbatim, but leaves it to the viewer to decide what this means, especially in terms of your argument. How do we know that consistency is an indication of strength and not something else? How do we know that consistency of message swayed the polls and not other forces?

The 2012 page includes a series of good data sets, but without transition sentences and fleshed-out captions for graphics, readers are left to piece together the collective meaning. You should add a strong introduction, conclusion, and transitions between the posts. This will give you space to explore the connection between the data and your argument and walk readers through the data along a clearly laid path.

Your Results page is very weak. This is where you want to re-assert your argument, and communicate to readers the implications of your findings. What you currently have on this page jumps around, at times contradicting your argument.

Ultimately, you should work through these suggestions and make the changes you can in the time you have. What you choose not to change you can then address in your papers.

Luke and Tom


Textual analysis
During our research, we applied textual analysis method to all sources that we found. This involved asking the correct questions such as is this source primary or secondary, what article is talking about, what is the author’s personal position, is this a reliable source or not, and etc. As a result, this guided us to limit our research material and to focus only on what can be used to support the team’s argument. In some cases, textual analysis helped us to see that some sources do not provide objective and reliable information. In other cases, the method revealed that authors focus on meaningless and trivial information. So, our research will be based on the reliable and unbiased material.

Data mining and analysis
As we know, candidates make a lot of statements and promises in their speeches during their presidential campaign. While doing our research, we came across an archive that contains all speeches that Obama and Bush made during their presidential run. It is a long list of speeches and it would be difficult for us to analyze it in short time period. So, we used data mining application to analyze the large amount of text and identify a pattern. Specifically, we used Voyant (http://voyant-tools.org/) word cloud software in order to generate word cloud of these speeches. It is a great tool to analyze a speech because it immediately shows the key words that are frequently used in the text. Word cloud helps to effectively prove our argument by visually showing the pattern in the speeches of both candidates.

Visual and Aural artifacts
Artifacts such as photo images, videos and audio are very effective in supporting our argument. Just like transcripts of speeches, video recordings of candidates’ public addresses are considered to be primary sources. Videos that our group found on YouTube and C-SPAN will be instrumental to bring attention to the specific statements and promises the candidates made. It’s one of the most effective and reliable proves that later cannot be denied by either candidates or media.

Spatial history
Finally, we came across the detail information about what states candidates visited during their campaigns and how often. We are going to plot this data using Fusion Table and create a map that will visually present all US states visited by candidates using color gradation and label them with the number of times visited. This information emphasises the important role these states play in the final results of the presidential race.


Primary Sources:

Presidential Rhetoric, Speeches From 2012 Presidential Campaign. Barack Obama Campaign Speeches. Created June-November 2012.

Presidential Rhetoric, Speeches From 2012 Presidential Campaign. George Bush Campaign Speeches, created July-November 2004.

President Obama in Springfield, OH – Full Speech 11/2/2012. Nov 2, 2012. YouTube.

Bush Campaign Rally on Oct 29, 2004. Oct 29, 2004. C-SPAN.

Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. Tax Policy Center. Tax Proposals in the 2012 Budget. March 28, 2011.

The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Fact Sheet on the Framework Agreement on Middle Class Tax Cuts and Unemployment Insurance. December 7, 2010.

“George W. Bush for President Official Site: Issues.” George W. Bush for President Official Site: Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Barack Obama” Barack Obama, accessed October 30, 2012, (2011-2012, All Rights reserved) http://www.barackobama.com

“Barack Obama” Barack Obama, accessed November 29, 2012

“White House” The White House, accessed November 29, 2012

“George W. Bush” George W. Bush, accessed November 29, 2012

“George W. Bush.com :: The Re-Election Site for President George W. Bush” George W. Bush, accessed November 29, 2012 (November, 2004)

“Foreign Policy | The White House” The White House, accessed November 29, 2012

“Iraq Home Page” The White House, accessed November 30, 2012 (September 11, 2004)

The President’s Plan for An Economy Built To Last. Barack Obama Official Website. Year 2012.

Secondary Sources:

Dan Primack. Obama’s second-term economic promises. CNN Money. September 6, 2008.

Democratic Convention: Obama Promises Economic Problems Can be Fixed. Fox News Latino. September 6, 2012.

Walter Hickey. Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Obama’s Economic Plan. Business Insider. October 19, 2012.

The Broken Promises of George W. Bush. Rhetoric vs. Reality. Center for American Progress Action Fund. August 9, 2004.

Bush Economics. PBS NewsHour. Paul Solman speaks with Glenn Hubbard about President Bush’s economic policy. August 30, 2004.

Overview of the 2004 Election and Electorial College Vote. President Elect. The Unofficial Home of the Electoral College. Year 2004.

Collins, Sara R., Jennifer L. Nicholson, Sheila D. Rustgi, and Karen Davis. “The 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Health Reform Proposals: Choices for America – The Commonwealth Fund.” The Commonwealth Fund, 2 Oct. 2008. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

“Barack Obama makes few promises in 2012 campaign” BBC-News, accessed October 30 2012 (published October 20, 2012)

“PolitiFact | The Obameter: Campaign Promises that are about Foreign Policy” Tampa Bay Times Politifact.com, accessed October 2012 (2012)

“Foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia” Wikimedia Foundation, accessed November 29, 2012 (October 26, 2012)

“Campaigning on foreign policy: World looks different from Oval Office – CNN.com” CNN.com, accessed October 2012 (October 20, 2012)


1. JSTOR – Political Reputations and Campaign Promises

2. JSTOR – Predicting Presidential Performance through Political Campaigns

3. PolitiFact – Tracking politicians’ promises

4. PolitiFact – A scorecard on President Obama’s campaign promises


One of the main questions that my group is considering basing our project on is: how often do presidents and opposing candidates break or keep their promises while in office or running for office? The idea of text mining is to thoroughly read different articles or other forms of written research and to find patterns throughout the research. These patterns consist of repeating statements or words that a person, in this president or opposing candidate), would say. This is a very beneficial way of doing our research because when a candidate is running for president or any type of office they usually use specific phrases to get the public’s attention and they constantly repeat these phrases whenever they are in public.

Like, my group member Tatsiana stated in her post, we attempt to compare what the president did during his term and what he said when he was campaigning. Unfortunatly the class is only until december, so we will not be able to do the project for the entire 4 year term of the president for this current election, but hopefully we will get an idea of what he will do up until the due date of this proejct. Along with this current election, we will also look at past presidencies and make the same coomparison. It is important that I say this becase both professors use this current election as a topic for postings and for topics of discussion in class, so it would only seem appropriate to integrate this election into our project.


One of the potential questions our group is considering to research is “How common is it for a president to break his promises made during the presidential campaign?” In order to answer this question and draw the parallels between current and historian elections, we would have to process quite large amount of text and find just the information that we need to prove our historian question. Text mining will be the essential tool in our analyses.

We will use lexical analyses that are based on searching of the key words in candidates’ speeches to find out the major promises that they made during their presidential campaign. Also, we will look for frequency of their promises – that is how often in their debates, interviews, speeches and other public appearances do they repeat these promises. Sometimes we may identify a certain patterns in their speeches that are related to their promises.

Then, we are going to compare the information that we gathered about campaign promises with the real actions these candidates made once they are elected to the presidential office. By doing this, our goal is to find out if it is common in politics for presidential candidates to make false promises to the voters, and if the voters can trust these candidates.


Group Members: Phillip Bleustein, Estevan Roman, Tatsiana Vashkevich

Name of Group: Group 2 ( Will change in future)

2-3 Historical Questions We are Considering: 

  • How does the appearance effect the outcome of the presidential election?
  • What role does religious affiliation of the candidate play during the candidate campaign?
  • What are the boundaries of the exaggerated/unachievable promises during presidential campaign?

A Brief Description of the Expected Scope of Our Project:

  • We are hoping that we can create the parallels between common issues and facts that play important role during 2012 presidential elections and other historical presidential elections. This historic perspective may help us to uncover deep issues that truly matter and continue to be a driving force that carries winning candidate to the top.

A List of Challenges and Potential That You Are Having now, or Anticipate as you Work on the Project:

  • Not being together for a majority of the project, and having to collaborate our work on our google doc.
  • There are always external factor that come in to play unexpectedly and having to embrace those factors and work through them could be a problem at time.

Optional: discuss technologies, formats, and work-flow that you may employ:

  • Embedding pics, video, audio, likely all through when applicable.
  • Google Docs
  • Youtube and Blogger