Memorable State of the Union addresses
Notable State of the Union addresses through the years.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, 1934
Starting a trend that continues today, FDR was the first president to refer to the yearly address as the "State of the Union."
Almost eight years before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the president said "I cannot, unfortunately, present to you a picture of complete optimism regarding world affairs."
HARRY TRUMAN, 1947
President Truman's 1947 address was the first to be televised.
Early in his speech, the president spoke about the peacetime economy, saying, "We have virtually full employment."
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, 1964
Seven weeks after John F. Kennedy's assassination, LBJ took to the podium and coined the phrase that would become a focal point of his Great Society policy:
"This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America."
RICHARD NIXON, 1974
In what would be his final State of the Union address, President Nixon urged Congress to end the probe into the Watergate scandal.
"I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end," he said. "One year of Watergate is enough."
He resigned six months later.
GERALD FORD, 1975
President Ford was blunt in his 1975 State of the Union address.
"I must say to you that the state of the union is not good," he said.
"Millions of Americans are out of work. Recession and inflation are eroding the money of millions more. Prices are too high, and sales are too slow ... I've got bad news, and I don't expect much, if any, applause."
JIMMY CARTER, 1981
Unlike many of his recent predecessors, Jimmy Carter delivered his State of the Union address as a written message, in 1981. He was the last president to do so. His letter to Congress emphasized his administration's national energy policy and outlined his plan for universal health care.
RONALD REAGAN, 1986
President Reagan was scheduled to give his 1986 address on Jan. 28. Hours before speech time, the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing seven astronauts.
For the first time, the State of the Union address was postponed.
The president gave the rescheduled speech on Feb. 4, with a special nod to the Challenger's passengers. "I hope that we are now ready to do what they would want us to do: Go forward, America, and reach for the stars," President Regan said. "We will never forget those brave seven, but we shall go forward."
Click here to read Newsday's 1986 coverage.
BILL CLINTON, 1996
President Clinton's 1996 address is remembered for a particular line: "The era of big government is over."
BILL CLINTON, 1997
While most State of the Union addresses capture the spotlight, this one wrestled for air time against O.J. Simpson.
"This is a really big news night," Tom Brokaw said, as the jury in Simpson's civil trial prepared to deliver the verdict.
As some television networks split the screen, President Clinton applauded a prosperous economy and stressed a call to action for American education.
On the opposite coast, Simpson was found liable for wrongful death and battery.
Click here to read Newsday's 1997 coverage on the shared stage.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 2002
In the first State of the Union address made available as a live webcast on the White House website, President Bush described North Korea, Iran and Iraq as "an axis of evil."
He reflected on 9/11, saying, "evil is real, and it must be opposed." The U.S. invaded Iraq 14 months later.
Click here to read Newsday's 2002 coverage.