As presidential candidates rhetorically articulate their beliefs during presidential debates, they reveal a lot about their underlying ideological beliefs. These beliefs were examined through the lens of an established methodology called the Operational Code, which uses a program to decipher a candidate's beliefs through what they say in debate transcripts. In this study, the belief trends of the Operational Codes of all presidential candidates from 1976-2012 were examined through a rhetorical lens, and it was found that rhetoric was indeed the driving force for the apparent changes in Operational Code beliefs. These changes were examined on a greater level of detail through four case studies, which illustrated the changes in Operational Code beliefs and rhetoric of Ronald Reagan, the incumbent presidential candidates, the 2004 election, and lastly, with the independent presidential candidates.
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Pollock, Phillip H.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Marks, Aubrey, "Debating Their Beliefs to Victory: How the Beliefs of Presidential Candidates Transform the Rhetoric Used in Presidential Debates" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1590.