WASHINGTON, February 12, 2013 — President Barack Obama will be center-stage before the joint session of both Houses of Congress on February 12, Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST. All broadcast and most of cable news programs will carry it live, pre-empting other programming.
President Obama specifically selected the birthday of President Lincoln, February 12, as the date of his address. President Obama has long invoked the memory and words of Lincoln, most recently taking his oath of office on the Lincoln bible.
The GOP has selected rising Republican star, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, to give the reply immediately following the President’s speech.
The State of the Union address dates back to President Washington, who delivered his message before a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1790 in New York City, which was then the provisional capital of the new country. However, in 1801 President Jefferson stopped the practice of in-person delivery to Congress, believing it to be too similar to royal edicts from the throne. The address was instead written and sent to Congress to be read by the Congressional clerk.
Then in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson brought back the live address, causing some controversy at the time. Since then except for President Carter, who declined to personally make the speech, all presidents have arrived in person on Capital Hill to deliver their address. Until FDR, the speech was known as the President’s Annual Message to Congress and was given in December at the end of the calendar year.
The President is required by the U.S. Constitution to give such an address by Article II, Sector 3 of the US Constitution, that says the President “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
You can watch the live stream of the State of the Union address here at Communities starting at 9:00pm EASTERN.
The State of the Union address will be shown on ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS as well as carried on cable stations Bloomberg TV, C-Span, C-Span 2, Current TV, Fox, Fox News, MSNBC, Mun2, and Telemundo.
Some of the cable news shows will have a pre-address show, analyzing what they know or expect to be in the State of the Union.
The State of the Union is one of the most direct communications between the President and the people of America. Since the invention of the radio and then television, the speech has been broadcast live.
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