What Words Are the GOP Candidates Obsessed With?

Putting aside Twitter's obsession with the vampire behind Jake Tapper, last night's GOP debate was first and foremost about the words spoken by the 11 candidates on the stage -- like Donald Trump waxing poetic about the beauty of Carly Fiorina, for instance. 

To get a better idea of what the GOP's best and brightest had to say, we sifted through the official debate transcript in search of which words were most frequently spoken by the presidential hopefuls during their three-hour reign of terror. The resulting tripartite lexical discoveries are actually near-perfect summaries of the candidates themselves, to the point where it almost seems like we made all this up. We did not make all this up.

Donald Trump: Disaster, People, Baby
Jeb Bush: Strategy, Relates, Created
Marco Rubio: Fly, Harder, Paycheck
Chris Christie: Jersey, Playing, Adams
Carly Fiorina: Track, Vladimir, Potential
Rand Paul: War, Response, Jail
John Kasich: Incumbent, Sanctions, Battle
Ben Carson: Recognize, People, Logical
Scott Walker: Education, Restrictions, Lift
Ted Cruz: Court, Appointed, Videos
Mike Huckabee: Gitmo, Cancer, Believe

Our transcript-scouring efforts also revealed which candidates got the most words in during the debate: that'd be Trump and Bush (of course), with around 4,000 words each -- by comparison, Mike Huckabee spoke a paltry 1,600 words over the three hour period. 

Additionally, we put together an Audience Applause Index that details candidates received the most applause, relative to how much they spoke: Carly Fiorina cleaned up in that regard, with a 44% greater chance of receiving applause when she spoke up. Rand Paul, meanwhile, was 47% less likely to receive applause, despite having the same approximate talking time as Fiorina. Apparently nobody wants to applaud for war and jail. Who knew?

For a full-sized version of the GOP debate word cloud, click here.

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Gianni Jaccoma is a staff writer for Thrillist, and heโ€™s totally voting for Rand Paul. Follow his justice-laden tweets @gjaccoma, and send your news tips to news@thrillist.com



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