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Presidential announcements set 2016 campaign priorities, tone

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More than a mere declaration on entering the race, presidential announcement speeches offer a glimpse of a candidate’s priorities, principles, and views on the state of the country.

Barack Obama talked of a new generation of leadership, George W. Bush argued for “prosperity with a purpose.” Each speech sets expectations and tone for the campaign to come.

NBC’s Meet the Press analyzed the baker’s dozen of 2016 presidential announcements to date – 13 so far – breaking down each speech by time spent on a particular topic.

For Democrats, they found the main issue is still the economy. With Republicans, the primary concern is terrorism and national security. Although Republicans overall spent relatively more time on foreign affairs in their announcements than did Democrats, much of that was pointing out how little Democrats talked about foreign affairs.

In the case of Marco Rubio, the NBC News Political Unit calculated his biography comprised the largest part of his speech – 30 percent – followed by the economy (19 percent), leadership/call to action (14 percent) and American exceptionalism (10 percent). Only eight percent was devoted to foreign affairs, with four percent for personal stories.

Biography was also the focus of one-third of the sentences in former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum‘s announcement, as was 31 percent of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz‘s speech – even as Santorum, Cruz and Rubio already come to the race with high national name recognition.

Of course, since Jeb Bush has yet to announce his presidential ambitions – he will do that Monday morning – it will be interesting to see the breakdown of his speech.

As one of the major GOP figures to enter the crowded race, Bush’s speech could become an essential element in the narrative of the entire 2016 campaign.

nbc news rubio announcement

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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