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Congress in One Word

June 19, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The Sunlight Foundation yesterday launched a really cool new site: CapitolWords. It’s insanely simple – for every day Congress is in session, the site displays the word that was spoken most frequently in the House and Senate or inserted in the Congressional Record. Yesterday’s hot word was “oil.” The day before that, “health.” This is a great tool for tracking trends in the issues Congress deems most worthy of action… er, debate.

There is definitely substantial analysis to be drawn from the data. For example, Chris Hayes at The Nation noticed that "you have to go back to May 15th to get the most recent day that “Iraq” was the most commonly invoked word."

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Comments

  • Anonymous 06/19/2008 2:45pm

    This is a great idea. But it would be better if it was a tag cloud instead. Then as the days passed you could see what the most talked about topic was and see what Congress has been focusing on the most.

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 06/25/2008 8:29pm

    OpenCongress Staff

    Bryan Rasmussen at O’Reilly News did exactly this. Check it out:

    http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/535-Congress-in-a-Wordle

  • Anonymous 06/20/2008 7:00am

    The word is midleading on purpose. The real issue is the price of commodities. Congress is trying to regulate the price of commodites and that includes the food. The word oil could be substitued for food.

  • Anonymous 06/20/2008 8:58am

    A tag cloud is a great idea and something that’s definitely on the plate. In the meantime an API is available at http://capitolwords.org/api/ for others to work with the data.

    - Josh @ Sunlight

  • Anonymous 06/23/2008 8:50am

    Thanks for the link to Capitol Words! Also we now have a widget available if anyone wants Capitol Words on their website: http://capitolwords.org/about/.

    And thanks for the tag cloud suggestions. We are working on new features and will keep you posted.

    Thanks again.

    Nisha Thompson
    Outreach Coordinator and Online Organizer
    Sunlight Foundation

  • SilkWhispers 07/17/2008 11:44pm

    That’s a cool toy..

    Would love to see the actual frequency per Word at year end..

    And who used the Secret Word of the Day the most on its featured day..

    :D

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