posted by Josh Goodman
That's certainly been true during the latest round of governors' State of the State addresses. You can learn a lot during these speeches simply by listening for the one word or phrase that a governor repeats over and over.
And over. Consider:
* California's Arnold Schwarzenegger used "together" five times in his speech, as in, "If we work together, there is literally no problem we cannot solve." He's trying to strike a more conciliatory tone this year in order to persuade voters to give him a second term.
* Washington's Christine Gregoire referred to her dog "Franz" three times. Republicans have claimed that it's inappropriate for state troopers to be assigned to protect Franz from "raccoons, coyotes and possums." Gregoire offered an impassioned defense, stating, "Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Franz does resent them."
* Illinois' embattled governor, Rod Blagojevich, mentioned "health" a whopping 32 times. He's hoping to parlay proposals to expand access to health care into a reelection victory.
* George Pataki of New York mentioned "tax," "taxes" or "taxpayers" a grand total of 35 times, saying such things as, "We've led the nation in cutting taxes." Pataki is touting his fiscal conservative credentials in preparation for a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
* Arizona's Janet Napolitano referred to "border" or "borders" 15 times. She's a favorite for reelection partially because she's taken a fairly tough stance against illegal immigration for a Democrat.
* Bob Riley of Alabama said "pray" or "prayers" four times. Riley faces a challenge in the Republican primary from former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, an icon for many Christian conservatives in the state. Riley is no election year convert, however. He quoted a passage from Proverbs in his 2004 State of the State speech.
* Virginia's new governor, Tim Kaine, mentioned "transportation" 43 times in his first address to the legislature. Transportation funding will be the central issue in the state for the next few months.
* Keep an eye on Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's State of the State speech later this month. Last year she said "jobs" 52 times. That will be a tough record to beat.