Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Joseph Zompetti


In 2001, the United States of America was the target of a vicious terrorist attack. In 2003, President George W. Bush announced that Americans were the mighty heroes responsible for capturing Saddam Hussein and bringing him to justice, even though Hussein was not the terrorist responsible for 9/11. Eight years later, President Barack Obama broke the news that Americans succeeded in assassinating Osama bin Laden, the true villain who orchestrated 9/11. One administration later, President Donald Trump proclaimed Americans had intervened to protect the world by eliminating another terrorist threat, Qasem Soleimani. I analyze these three presidential addresses as episodes in an overarching narrative of American exceptionalism, exemplarism, interventionism, and paternalism. In so doing, this project may illuminate a recurring pattern of eliminating terrorist threats as part of a campaign strategy in the last year of these leaders’ first terms in the White House, and start of their re-election campaigns.

KEYWORDS: president; terrorism; terrorist; capture; assassination; announcement; speech; rhetoric; George W. Bush; Barack Obama; Donald J. Trump; Saddam Hussein; Osama bin Laden; Qasem Soleimani; exceptionalism; exemplarism; interventionism; presidential paternalism


Imported from Freeman_ilstu_0092N_11919.pdf


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