In honor of this week’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, I have compiled some interesting related trivia for your perusal. If you would like to join me, I will be at the Thurman Grill on Tuesday watching the speech and chatting with neighbors.
- The shortest state of the Union message in terms of word count was the first: George Washington’s 1790 address weighed in at 1,089 words.
- The longest in terms of words was Jimmy Carter’s final message, in January 1981. A written document rather than a speech, the report was 33,667 words long.
- Two presidents–William Henry Harrison and James Garfield–never delivered such a message to Congress. Both died in office before they were able to.
- The longest orally delivered speech (at least since they started tracking these things in 1966) was Bill Clinton’s January 2000 address, which clocked in at 1 hour, 28 minutes and 49 seconds. Incredibly, that speech was only 7,452 words long, not nearly as long as his 1995 talk, in which he jammed 9,190 words into 1 hour, 24 minutes and 58 seconds.