A visual representation of the speeches created via wordle.net shows that while the president's speech was peppered with lofty rhetoric and broad ideals, he was focused on addressing one specific element of national security: the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison. Cheney, by contrast, framed his speech in the context of the current political debates but had the broader goal of defending the overarching policies of the eight-year administration to which he belonged.
Here is a picture of Obama's speech as seen by the words most common to appear:
Clearly, Guantanamo Bay overshadowed anything else the president had to say. "American" and "people" were two other words that featured prominently in the president's speech -- making it evident whom the president intended to address.
Mr. Obama said in his speech that there were "no easy answers" on what to do about moral and practical quandary of Guantanamo but that the military prison had "set back the moral authority that is America's strongest currency in the world."
While his central thoughts were bolstered by pragmatic language like "detainees," "security," "legal," "terrorists," and "administration," Mr. Obama devoted less breath to the principles underlying his goals. Words like "values," "institutions," "transparency," and "justice," were used far less.
Cheney, meanwhile, suggested in his speech that he wanted to respond to moments when Mr. Obama "faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years."
Those decisions were clearly based on one word: "terrorism." A visual representation of his speech shows in no uncertain terms that the events of 9-11 and the threat of terrorists defined his vice presidency.
You can look at that picture below:
While Cheney did react to Mr. Obama's interest in closing down the Guantanamo prison, he chose to devote most of his speech to defending the interrogation techniques the Bush administration enacted and the intelligence learned from them.
The two speeches may have been based in dueling philosophies, but their aims were different: While the president was focused on moving his administration forward with the closure of Guantanamo Bay, Cheney was more interested in explaining the past.