The Conversation

The Filibuster in a Chart

This Politico story points out that Atty. General Holder's response to Sen. Paul's 13 hour filibuster was just 43 words long. That got me wondering how many words it took to prompt that curt response.

Transcripts of the first 7 hours of the filibuster are available on Sen. Paul's website. The word counts for those transcripts is as follows:

  1. 9,024
  2. 9,820
  3. 9,523
  4. 10,834
  5. 10,748
  6. 9,523
  7. 9,123

These aren't exactly correct because in some cases there were multiple speakers and I didn't remove every "Sen. Paul:" or "Sen. Rubio:" from the count. (I did verify that hour 3 and hour 6 are different texts even though they have the same word count.) In any case, we get a rough total of 68,595 words in the first 7 hours.

Transcripts of hours 8 through 13 were never posted. But since every hour prior to that was over 9,000 spoken words we can guesstimate the remaining hours were similar. That gives us roughly 54,000 additional words. Summing it all up we get approximately 122,595 words delivered over 13 hours.

So it took roughly 122,595 words to pry a 43 word response out of the administration. This is the what the White House calls transparency.


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