IntenCheck Blog

IntenCheck Blog

Trump vs Clinton Scandal Battle: Semantic Text Analysis of the Second Presidential Debate

On October 9th, 2016 US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have clashed in a contentious second debate. As previously (click here), we have performed a semantic text analysis using IntenCheck technology. The transcript of the text can be found here.



Two weeks ago, the dominant emotion in Trump’s speech was Sadness, however, on Sunday it was much stronger emotions – Surprise and Anger:

“She’s got tremendous—she’s got tremendous hatred. And this country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama, and that’s what you’re getting with her”.

“I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly”.

“I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for”.

Hillary in comparison to Trump was far less emotional.


Next, we looked at the Attitude category.


Similar to previous debate, Hillary had very high results in Positive and Strong categories. However, this time, Trump was as Active as Clinton. But he had much higher Negative and Passive results than in the previous debates.


“And I will tell you very strongly, when Bernie Sanders said she had bad judgment, she has really bad judgment, because we are letting people into this country that are going to cause problems and crime like you’ve never seen”.

“Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success?”

“You know, when we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have—and, frankly, drowning people in steel cages, where you have wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, where you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times”.

“And when she said irredeemable, they’re irredeemable, you didn’t mention that, but when she said they’re irredeemable, to me that might have been even worse”.


“Hillary Clinton has friends that want all of these provisions, including they want the carried interest provision, which is very important to Wall Street people”.

“We have unbelievable—we have found over the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth right under our feet”.

“And all you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or places like Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania and you see what they’re doing to the people, miners and others in the energy business”.

“And all you have to do is take a look at WikiLeaks and just see what they say about Bernie Sanders and see what Deborah Wasserman Schultz had in mind, because Bernie Sanders, between super-delegates and Deborah Wasserman Schultz, he never had a chance”.

Growth in Negative can be explained because of the critique towards the opponent, but increase in Passive works against Trump’s image as a successful person.

Communication style

The following category characterizes Communication style which was used by the opponents in order to deliver their position to the audience.


Compared to the previous results, we can see a shift from a very Rational to more emotional (Kinesthetic) in Hillary’s communication style. Audial and Visual are almost the same as previously. On the contrary, in Donald Trump’s text, we can see less Kinesthetic and more Rational results.

Hillary Clinton (Kinesthetic):

“And the Affordable Care Act was meant to try to fill the gap between people who were too poor and couldn’t put together any resources to afford health care, namely people on Medicaid”.

“We are going to be looking for ways to celebrate our diversity, and we are going to try to reach out to every boy and girl, as well as every adult, to bring them in to working on behalf of our country”.

“After 9/11, I went to work with Republican mayor, governor and president to rebuild New York and to get health care for our first responders who were suffering because they had run toward danger and gotten sickened by it”.

“And as president, I will take that work, that bipartisan work, that finding common ground, because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington”. 


From the results of the Timeline category, we can observe that Hillary Clinton still prefers to speak about the Future, which generally speaking people do prefer to hear about:

“Democrats, Republicans, independents, people across our country. If you don’t vote for me, I still want to be your president?”.  

“I would not use American ground forces in Syria. I think that would be a very serious mistake. I don’t think American troops should be holding territory, which is what they would have to do as an occupying force”.

“I hope that they will see their way to doing it, but if I am so fortunate enough as to be president, I will immediately move to make sure that we fill that, we have nine justices that get to work on behalf of our people”.  

At the same time, Hillary spoke more about the Past compared to the previous debate:

“So let’s fix what’s broken about it, but let’s not throw it away and give it all back to the insurance companies and the drug companies”.

“Look, we are in a situation in our country where if we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system”.

“Yes, Warren Buffett is the one who’s gone out and said somebody like him should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. I want to have a surcharge on incomes above $5 million. We have to make up for lost times, because I want to invest in you”.

“And I think it’s been unfortunate, but it’s happened, that since the Great Recession, the gains have all gone to the top”.


Similarly to the previous debate, Trump was speaking very little about the future and continue to criticize the past and the present:

“And by the way, at the last debate, she lied, because it turned out that she did say the gold standard and she said she didn’t say it”.

“We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved”.

“But what President Clinton did, he was impeached, he lost his license to practice law”.

“And I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful, and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth”.

“President Obama, by keeping those lines, the boundary lines around each state, it was almost gone until just very toward the end of the passage of Obamacare, which, by the way, was a fraud”.


A direction of motivation Toward To in this context describes achieving future goals and targets, whereas Away From accentuates the mistakes which were made in the past.

During the first debate, Hillary preferred to talk about the future goals and Trump spoke mainly about correcting the past mistakes. This time, Trump, even more, spoke about fixing existing problems, but for the first time started to focus towards the future results:


“I will bring our energy companies back. They’ll be able to compete. They’ll make money. They’ll pay off our national debt”.

“People are pouring into our country, and they’re coming in from the Middle East and other places. We’re going to make America safe again. We’re going to make America great again, but we’re going to make America safe again”.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved”.

“But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception”.

Perceptual positions

During the first debate, Trump used Position-I (I, my), Position-II (you), and Position-III (they); and Hillary mainly Position-IV (we). Trump was focusing more on himself, whereas Clinton preferred to speak on behalf of the whole nation.


During the time between debates, the situation has changed. Despite recent scandals, Trump chose correct tactics by not talking much about himself (significant decrease in using Position-I (I, my)), as well as, continued using Position-II (you) and Position-III (they). But Trump still not using unifying Position-IV (we). At the same time, we can notice that Hillary continues to use Position- IV (we), but this time she was forced to defend herself (significant increase in the Position-I (I, my):

“So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem. And I support moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can, because I think we can be the 21st-century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses”.

“I want to be the best president I can be for every American”.  

“So I have very clear views about what I want to see to kind of change the balance on the Supreme Court”.

“So, first and foremost, I will do everything I can to reach out to everybody”.  

“Well, I certainly will, because I think that’s a very fair and important question”.


In conclusion

According to our results, we can see that the level of involvement of candidates and magnitude of emotions increased comparing to the first debate. The next round is in ten days on October 19, 2016.