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Populism and security in political speechmaking: the 2008 US Presidential Campaign

Higgins, Michael (2009) Populism and security in political speechmaking: the 2008 US Presidential Campaign. In: Media, Religion and Conflict. Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 129-144. ISBN 0754678533

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The issue of security has been a prominent feature of the US political landscape since the attacks of 9/11. Not surprisingly, then, issues of security, trust and credibility were raised throughout the 2008 US election presidential campaign. In the latter stages of his presidency, George W. Bush had been engaged in portraying his two terms as a successful period as national protector, keeping the US safe from further terrorist attack. Both the policy and the rhetorical strategies of the Bush administration coalesced around an emphasis on 'homeland security'. As well as producing a dominant way of asserting political legitimacy, this put in place an administrative framework within which elected legislators had to situate themselves, including the candidates for the 2008 presidential election.