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First Speeches Steeped in Patriotic Red, White and Blue


According to a CQ Roll Call analysis of the dozen addresses, the trend favored references to the agenda of the new Republican majority and the importance of getting the Senate back to work. Some focused on a specific policy question, such as Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., whose first remarks in the chamber came during the debate over approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Such words as “people,” “nation,” “government” and “defense” were among those appearing most frequently in the maiden speeches by the Senate’s newest Republicans. Half the group was elected to the Senate from the House, one is a former governor, two were state legislators and three had never run for office before.  

Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan is the lone Democratic freshman and was not included in this analysis.  

“President” cracked the top 30 words used, even after controlling for the perfunctory addressing of the presiding officer by that title. Not all of the top words used were necessarily found throughout the speeches — “nuclear” got 27 mentions, thanks to Sen. Tom Cotton. The Arkansas Republican delivered his first Senate speech in March, focusing on global security threats and U.S. foreign policy.  

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., delivered the ultimate speech Tuesday, a year after his election. The Nebraska Republican cited legendary senators and their debates of the past, while calling for change in today’s deliberations.  

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Nov. 2, 2015

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Related: The Last Freshman: Sasse Evokes Senate Titans in Opening Speech See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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