Bill Clinton’s speech (in graphs)

September 6, 2012

Bill Clinton was slated to deliver a 3,279-word speech last night. That would have put him in range with other speakers we've seen so far at the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

As we now know, Bill Clinton spoke for much, much longer — 2,619 words longer, to be exact. His additional remarks are just about the same length as the entirety of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech. His speech was 35 percent longer than Gov. Mitt Romney's.

But while it was long for this year's political conventions, it was by no means the longest remarks that Clinton has delivered to the Democratic National Convention. Between 1988 and 2012, he spent approximately 4 hours and 59 minutes speaking at the party's quadrennial conventions. His longest speech was in 1996, when he spent one hour and 10 minutes accepting his presidential nomination. Here's the length of his various speeches, all collected by the New York Times:

What did Clinton spend his 48 minutes this year talking about? Mostly about President Obama, whom he mentioned 33 times, and the economy. Here's how it looks in a word cloud:

Here's one thing Clinton talked about, that barely came up at the Republican National Convention: President George W. Bush. His name came up three times in Clinton's speech, compared with exactly zero times during remarks from Christie, Ryan and Romney.

The audience was apparently pleased: According to the transcript, they cheered 105 times and laughed 33 times throughout the speech. That works out, for the ultra-curious, to 2.2 cheers per minute.

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Dylan Matthews · September 6, 2012