Does that include midterms?
Okay, so just now when I saw this…
… I immediately thought of this:
Tetlock, P. E. (1981). Pre- to postelection shifts in presidential rhetoric: Impression management or cognitive adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 207-212.
Used content analysis to assess the conceptual or integrative complexity of pre- and post-election policy statements of 20th-century American presidents. Two hypotheses were tested. According to the impression management hypothesis, presidents present issues in deliberately simplistic ways during election campaigns but in more complex ways upon assuming office when they face the necessity of justifying sometimes unpopular decisions to skeptical constituencies. According to the cognitive adjustment hypothesis, presidents gradually become more complex in their thinking during their tenure in office as they become increasingly familiar with high-level policy issues. Results support only the impression management position. The complexity of presidential policy statements increased sharply immediately after inauguration but did not increase with length of time in office. Complexity of policy statements also significantly declined in reelection years.
I haven’t coded the transcript for integrative complexity yet. But when the reporter writes, “Mr. Obama has been seeking to narrow the complex arguments over health care policy,” it sounds a heck of a lot like what Tetlock was talking about.