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State of the Union


  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    Conrad Black: Two Cheers for Obama

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    Ted Widmer: From Obama, a Proudly Liberal Message

    Ted Widmer, assistant to the president for special projects at Brown University, is the editor of “Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy.” A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, he was recently a consultant to the State Department.THE bright blue tie worn by President Obama to his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening was an accurate barometer of the weather. This was the most Democratic State of the Union in some time, not just in the range of government initiatives he proposed — the annual speech is usually a long laundry list — but because it set a new tone.Mr. Obama was looser than he has been in these previous annual messages to Congress — and unapologetic about his belief in government as an instrument to improve people’s lives. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, might have been right when he snorted, in the blur of televised commentary that followed, that it was the most liberal speech by a president to Congress since Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Video mashup of 60 years of SOTU

    The Washington Post video team has created a video mashup of State of the Union addresses from the past sixty years -- check it out here.Further Reading:Important State of the Union Addresses in History

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    How the Union’s state got so ‘strong’

    ...Strong, stronger, strongest — one of those words has been used to describe the union in each of the last 17 State of the Union addresses.But it was not always so. Presidents once used other words to describe the state of our union. President Jimmy Carter liked to call it “sound.” President Harry S. Truman liked to call it “good.” President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a lyrical moment, described the state of the union in 1965 as “free and restless, growing and full of hope.”And when things were not going well, they said so.“I must say to you that the state of the union is not good,” President Gerald R. Ford said in 1975, citing high unemployment, slow growth and soaring deficits. He added, “I’ve got bad news, and I don’t expect much, if any, applause.”...What changed? The simple answer is President Ronald Reagan....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Julian Zelizer: Obama, Think Big for State of the Union

    Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and of "Governing America." (CNN) -- President Obama is set to deliver the first State of the Union Address of his new term. On Tuesday evening, he will step before a joint session of Congress and a nation in difficult times.Unemployment rose in January to 7.9%. There are signs of economic progress, but millions of Americans are struggling to find a job while others are desperate to keep the one they have.Other kinds of economic challenges face many people. The Pew Research Center recently released a study showing the growing number of adults who are struggling to support grown children and their parents, the "Sandwich Generation" as they are called....It may be tempting to list a series of measures Obama wants Congress to pass, but the president should use this speech to do something more than provide a laundry list, and the historical record offers some guidance about how.

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