Although he has somewhat slowed down the use of his favorite verbal tics from 10 per debate to four, Texas Governor Rick Perry is still far and away the clubhouse leader in the GOP presidential debates when it comes to using clichés. Through the nine debates since Perry first took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, he has uttered hackneyed phrases that attempt to bolster his points (e.g. "the bottom line," "at the end of the day," "the fact of the matter," "as a matter of fact," "the fact is") 54 times through the recent Iowa debate in Des Moines. Perry had used these phrases 31 times through just the first three debates, and 'just' 23 times over the last six. The only other candidate who reaches double digits during this span is none other than Newt Gingrich at 12, whose favorite such phrase is "The fact is." Following Gingrich is Jon Huntsman with six, Rick Santorum with five, Ron Paul with four, Mitt Romney with three, and Michele Bachmann with two. Herman Cain, often applauded for his straight talk, did not use any of these trite phrases during the eight debates under analysis in which he participated.
Barack Obama has delivered an address before a joint session of Congress eight times since taking office five years ago. During his first three speeches (February 2009's inaugural address to Congress, September 2009's address on health care reform, and the 2010 State of the Union), the president's tie color of choice was red. After the GOP tsunami in November 2010, Obama has opted for a blue tie in four of his five speeches held in the Republican-controlled lower legislative chamber (for the 2011, 2013, and 2014 SOTUs and his September 2011 address on job growth). The president reverted back to his red tie only once, for the 2012 SOTU.
Tom Latham's surprise announcement last month that he would retire from the U.S. House at this end of this term was also an unusual exit in modern Hawkeye State history. Over the last 50+ years since the 1962 cycle, only six of 32 Iowa U.S. Representatives - including Latham - left the chamber via retirement, or 18 percent: Democrats Merwin Coad in 1962 and Berkley Bedell in 1986 and Republicans Charles Hoeven in 1964, Harold Gross in 1974, Cooper Evans in 1986, and Latham in 2014. Seventeen others were defeated in reelection bids, while nine ran for higher office. Five of these were defeated (Republicans Tom Tauke in 1990, Fred Grandy in 1994, Jim Lightfoot in 1996, Greg Ganske in 2002, Jim Nussle in 2006), three were victorious (John Culver in 1974, Chuck Grassley in 1980, Tom Harkin in 1984), with one yet to be determined (1st CD Democrat Bruce Braley, running for U.S. Senate this cycle).
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