Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't call it The State of the Union

I'd heard several talking heads say that the President's speech tonight to a joint session of Congress is not a State of the Union address. I had no idea why and tweeted the question.

Thanks to Matt, we have the formal answer in this handy "State of the Union" FAQ taken from the Congressional Research Service.
The past four Presidents (Ronald Reagan in 1981, George H. W. Bush in 1989, William Clinton in 1993, and George W. Bush in 2001) have chosen not to give an official State of the Union Messagethe year they were first inaugurated, having just previously delivered a keynote inaugural address. In each instance their first speech to a joint session of Congress closely followed their inauguration, but was not officially categorized as a "State of the Union Message".
This historic precedent works out especially well this year allowing the POTUS to avoid completely the traditional "The State of the Union is Strong" introductory sentence.

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