Previewing Joe Biden’s 2024 ‘State Of The Union’ Speech

Will anyone watch?

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The president took a deep breath and said something none of his predecessors had ever said before – and which none of his successors have said since.

“I must say to you that the state of the union is not good.”

It would have been an understatement to say the mood inside the U.S. Capitol’s House chamber was sober. But the president continued to lay it out in blunt, no-nonsense language.

“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.”

The president was Gerald Ford. The date was January 15, 1975. The occasion was the State of the Union address. Listening in the chamber that night was a 32-year-old senator named Joe Biden.

Almost exactly a half-century later, now-president Biden could say those very same words in his own State of the Union address Thursday night. For the predicaments facing the country in 1975 and 2024 are eerily similar.

But … he won’t. Unlike Ford almost 50 years earlier, Biden is in the middle of a reelection campaign. And the State of the Union address is traditionally viewed as its unofficial kickoff event. One of the most widely watched events of the year – once upon a time, anyway – it’s a chance to shine the spotlight squarely on the chief executive and listen as he alternates between giving himself a verbal pat on the back for his accomplishments and laying out his vision for the future.



Upon extending an invitation to the White House, lawmakers from both the House and Senate gather in the House chamber. The best seats down front are reserved for the biggest VIPs — U.S. Supreme Court justices, cabinet members, the military’s top brass, and so on.

For everybody else, it’s first come, first served. Some members of the president’s party show up hours ahead of time hoping to snag a good seat along the aisle – with the goal of the folks back home seeing them shaking hands with the big cheese on his way to or from the rostrum on live network TV.

Conversely, there’s a mad stampede to get out of the chamber the moment the president has exited. Every available inch of space has already been allocated to news media from all over the country, and with cameras positioned on tripods and ready to roll, they’ll be awaiting immediate reactions in the form of post-speech interviews. In 2011, this author had the opportunity to watch the spectacle of senators and congress members literally running to the designated area where local media from their states were waiting. The Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500 had nothing on that stampede.

(Click to View)

U.S. president Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of congress on February 7, 2023 (The White House)

The State of the Union address is a paradox. It is one of Washington’s most highly anticipated events of the year. Yet, in the past generation, only a handful of addresses included memorable moments. Consider Bill Clinton’s 1996 declaration that “the era of big government is over.”

Biden must have been nodding off during that part of the speech …

Then there was 2002, when George W. Bush proclaimed there was “an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” He singled out North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as its charter members. (Spoiler alert: They’re still making mischief today.)

But apart from a few soundbites here and there, these speeches are usually far from unforgettable.

On the flip side, the big speech has also seen some shameful moments. Foremost among them was in 2020, when, with former President Donald Trump still at the rostrum having completed his remarks, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a show of holding up her copy of his address and ripping it in half in a disgracefully inappropriate display of contempt. America watched her temper tantrum play out on live TV.

(Click to View)


Speaking of television, it’s the thing Biden must be most careful of Thursday night. With his approval ratings so far underwater a mermaid could be his running mate, appearance is everything for the 81-year-old president. He can’t be seen stumbling on his way to the rostrum. He can’t have a momentary mental lapse, and he must stick to the prepared text on the teleprompter because he can’t afford another one of those incidents where he means one name but says another.

Should that happen, a poor performance alone wouldn’t doom his reelection bid – but it would make a rough road even rockier.

Here’s another thing to keep an eye out for: The Democratic Party’s progressive wing is feeling especially feisty just now. Will members of the “Squad” and other Far Lefties boo him when he talks about the Israel-Hamas war and Palestinians in Gaza? If they do, look for it to appear in a Trump TV commercial by the weekend.

The White House has been working on this speech since the beginning of the year. And you can bet your bottom dollar Biden has been rehearsing it over and over for a long time, too. All that for a speech that will be forgotten by the time America crawls into bed Thursday night … assuming any of them watch it in the first place?

Last year, only 27.3 million Americans watched Biden deliver his remarks – the second-smallest audience ever for such a speech (and a 38 percent decline in viewership from Biden’s 2022 address). Of those who tuned in, 73 percent were over the age of 55 while only five percent were under the age of 35.



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    Mark Powell (Provided)

    J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at mark@fitsnews.com.



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    Nanker Phelge March 7, 2024 at 12:17 pm

    In the shameful moments category, Joe Wilson yelling “YOU LIE!” like a spoiled toddler trumps Pelosi’s speech shredding.

    A reminder that in 1975 Nixon had resigned in disgrace months earlier, inflation was rampant (Ford distributed W(hip) I(nflation) N(ow) buttons, like wearing a button would do any good). Nixon had instituted wage and price controls. There was a decade long oil shortage causing lines at gas stations, talk of rationing, and a 55 mph speed limit on the interstate system to conserve gas.

    I guess through the feces colored glasses through which Fitsnews views the world things are worse now.

    JustCallMeAva Top fan March 8, 2024 at 8:27 am

    As a reminder, four years ago, we couldn’t find toilet paper on the shelves, the GOP was talking about how senior citizens should “sacrifice” themselves for their grandchildren’s future, and we had a president who was trying to change the trajectory of a hurricane with a sharpie marker and thought we should drink bleach and shove a light up our butt to get rid of covid germs. Not to mention his fondness and fanboying over dictators. Flash Forward 4 years to today, and the US has the lowest inflation rate in the World, unemployment rates are at a 50-year low, and the stock market is at historic highs. I gotta say my 401K is looking pretty sweet these days. Real Americans are tired of the GOP’s braying elephants and circus side show “politicians”. The GOP controlled House has done absolutely nothing of note in the last two years they’ve had control except obstruct. We could have had a border deal but the GOP walked away for no other reason than they desperately need this as an election talking point. Why would we want to go back to some of the worst days in America? Better question–why would we want to move forward with the GOP knowing they don’t know how to actually govern? At least Biden could deliver a coherent speech and that’s better than Trump’s incoherent ranting, his endless refrains of why life is so unfair to him as an alleged billionaire (who can’t pay his legal bills), and his dementia-addled belief that Obama is still president. In summary, worship at that orange idol all you want, he will not win for the GOP in November.

    Frank March 8, 2024 at 1:48 pm

    Well while you had time to preview the speech, you don’t want to talk about it afterward, and I think we all know why. It was a hell of a speech, and the MAGA response could not have been more pathetic. Biden made the speech without missing a beat, even responding to GOP hecklers in real-time, with cogent appropriate comebacks. Fortunately for sites like this one, Faux News and the like, most of their viewers or readers did not watch, otherwise they would need to abandon the demented sleepy Joe line. Trump could never have made that speech, without devolving into incoherent mumbling.

    And could the GOP response have been worse? A rich white lady who makes almost 200k a year plus generous benefits and contributions, with a rich husband who makes, even more, working for a Washington lobbying firm and kids who all attend private school, sits in a kitchen she probably never uses and whimpers about how average Americans like her and her family make their decisions around a kitchen table and they are afraid their kids will not have a shot at the American dream. Not one time did she mention what the GOP was going to do for the country or what it had done. Because she had nothing. Just fear and hand wringing. But Biden is out of touch. Really?


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