O'Malley's favorite phrase of 2011? The winner is...
In the minutes before Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) took the podium Thursday to deliver his fifth State of the State address, more than a few friendly wagers were placed among assembled lawmakers in Annapolis about what word would be repeated most often by the newly re-elected governor?
Would it be "forward," as in "moving Maryland forward," from his winning campaign slogan? How about "protect?" It's the word he's repeated 34 times -- and most often -- over his four previous State of the State addresses to stress his administration's core theme that investing in education, health care and other costly public endeavors will help Maryland emerge from the economic recession ahead of other states.
And the winner is ....
For a second straight year, "jobs" (uttered 22 times) was the most oft-repeated word in O'Malley's State of the State address. Followed by "together" (16 times), and "innovation" (15), a new addition to O'Malley's favorite words list. "Forward" (14) came in fourth.
But you wouldn't know it from this beginning passage of his address:
"Since the earliest days of our State, we have come together knowing that there are some challenges so large that we can only tackle them together," O'Malley said. "With a government that works, we are moving forward. Forward with the best job creation since the recession began. Forward with America's best public schools and more affordable college. Forward with fewer homes lost to foreclosure and fewer lives lost to violence. Forward with a healthier Bay and rebounding blue crab population. Forward with an economy that's getting better and more Marylanders employed this year than last."
Another, um, footnote: O'Malley speech (2,900 words) was also the shortest of his five annual statewide addresses. He continued a two-year trend of mentioning fewer details and relegating the specifics of his legislative agenda to footnotes. There were 74 tagged onto this year's speech, compared to 65 last year, 39 in 2009, and none in his first two addresses.
O'Malley explained the trend earlier this week in an interview with The Post discussing his upcoming speech:
"I don't know if I want to be quoted talking like a speechwriter," O'Malley said. "But I think I became a little to detail oriented and a little too into the grass in the comparisons" during early State of the State addresses.
"The percentages and the numbers make for awful TV and awful speech. So we tried very hard in last year's talk to create a cohesive narrative of where we're going and rather than getting lost in the weeds, the foot notes of last year's speech for example, were longer than the text."
Prior to Thursday's address, O'Malley also promised that following a lofty inauguration speech about his vision for the future, his State of the State address Thursday would "lay out a prescription for how we get there and why these actions make sense."
Here's the text of O'Malley's 2011 State of the State address. What do you think? Did he achieve his goal?
Aaron C. Davis
| February 3, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis
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