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‘Growth’ Grows in the Debate Lexicon

Article by Matthew Denhart February 1, 2013 //   2 minute read

We are pleased to see economic growth taking a front seat in the presidential debates. The first presidential debate, held in Denver on October 3 focused heavily on the economy and economic growth. Combined, Governor Romney and President Obama used the word “grow” or “growth” 25 times in a way that related to the economy: Romney evoked the growth term 14 times compared to Obama’s 11 uses. The growth theme continued into last week’s vice presidential debate. A review of the debate’s transcript shows that the word “grow” — or some variation of the term — was uttered in relation to the economy 16 times. Pundits seem to say that candidates Paul Ryan and Joe Biden tied in the debate. But if the debate was judged simply by the candidates’ uses of the word “grow,” Ryan would be declared the winner. He used the term 12 times discussing the economy compared to Biden’s four uses, and Ryan even referred explicitly to the need for 4% growth. The second presidential debate takes place tonight from Hofstra University in New York. It will utilize a town-hall format and questions will be posed by members of the audience. We know economic growth is on their minds, and we hope the candidates will continue to focus their debate on how the country can achieve 4% growth.

This post was written by Matthew Denhart, research assistant to the 4% Growth Project at the George W. Bush Institute. Previously he served as administrative director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.