President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address will take place tonight at 9:00 p.m. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will issue the Republican response afterwards. Look for President Obama to look forward to his final year in office and beyond. This is not going to be greatest hits send off type speech.
The address will be broadcast live on all four major broadcast networks and major cable news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and C-Span. But we will have plenty of other ways to watch the address, including plenty of broadband offerings like the live stream of the State of the Union address on the White House’s website, Amazon.com will also broadcast the address via Amazon Video.
To begin, the televised event is likely to have the smallest audience for any of Obama’s eight State of the Union addresses. His last State of the Union address was seen by only about 31 million people – the fewest number for any of his previous such speeches and audiences for these events have been declining more generally for the last two decades. Both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw their final State of the Union address receive the smallest audiences of their presidencies, and there is no reason to expect any different for Obama.
The speech itself, aides say, will be built around one central theme of optimism, as the president seeks to highlight the progress he sees the nation having made since he first took office at the height of the Great Recession, and what more can be done to leverage the strengths of the American people in the future.
Look for the president to remind Americans of what he and his team have accomplished since taking office. But the main focus of the address will remain on what still needs to be done in 2016 as they try to push a bunch of big pieces of legislation over the finish line. The to do list is long and includes closing the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, giving final approval to the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, and enacting reforms to the criminal justice system.
One final chance to get Congress to pay attention to his programs and to make his points to the nation and the world.