Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Look Back at the State of the Union Address


Photo Credit: WBFO 
Before President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight, let’s take a look back on the fascinating facts about the iconic speech.
 
• In 1790, George Washington delivered the first state of the union address before Congress in New York. Washington’s speeches were only about five minutes long. However, the speech was simply known as “The President’s Annual Message to Congress” at the time. In fact, the name didn’t change until President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1934 message, which he referred to as the “Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union.”
 
• Finding the whole process of a speech to Congress “too kingly," Thomas Jefferson chose to send separate, written notes to the House and Senate 1801. Jefferson's successors in the White House followed suit and it would be 112 years before a president again spoke the State of the Union Address.
 
• The State of the Union used to be delivered in the daytime up until 1965 when President Johnson changed it to the evening to reach a larger audience.
 
• Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush (Jr. and Sr.) have all skipped the winter address, citing it was too soon after their inaugural address.
 
• The first live TV address was in 1947 by President Truman.
 
• President Clinton had the biggest audience in 1993 when 66.9 million people tuned in.
 
• President George W. Bush was the first to deliver the address via webcast in 2002.
 
• Last year, President Obama’s speech led to 1.36 million tweets on the subject.

With social media becoming more popular by the day, we’re curious to see if that record will be broken tonight!
 
Tune in to WNED-TV or WBFO 88.7 FM at 9 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, January 28) for live coverage of the event.
 
Read WBFO's report about the event.

Visit PBS NewsHour's website, which will be posting coverage leading up to the event tonight.

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