It’s not really called a State of the Union speech. That will come next year. But traditionally, newly elected presidents address Congress during their first year in office, usually sooner rather than later. They basically don’t give the “state of the union” since they just got the job, but they lay out their vision for what they hope to accomplish. It’s actually about the same as a SOTU, just not called that.
Bobo Obama gave his address to Congress on February 24, 2009, some 35 days after being sworn in. Donald Trump gave his inaugural address to Congress on February 28, 2017, some 39 days after being sworn in. In fact, going back some 40 years to the inaugural address of Ronald Reagan, every single president has addressed Congress in their first 40 days in office.
Joe Biden will finally make the plunge, if he accepts Nancy Pelosi’s invitation, on April 28th. That’s 98 days since his swearing in. Most presidents average about an hour long speech. The longest was Bill Clinton who went 65 minutes. George H.W. Bush was the shortest at 48 minutes.
Biden hasn’t done much of anything in the way of public appearances since taking office. His first press conference came almost two months after he was sworn in, and only lasted about 20 questions from 10 hand-selected, friendly reporters. The questions, it’s been said, were given to Biden in advance, and his responses were in the teleprompter.
Whether Joe Biden can speak for an hour or not is unclear. He’s had major problems with speaking, even with a teleprompter, throughout the campaign, and while in office. In fact, his campaign stops were the shortest in history, averaging about 12 minutes in length.
One of the things that Biden will hope to do is strengthen his push for his $2.2 trillion infrastructure bill that he’s hoping to use to bolster his union friends who took it on the chin losing jobs with Keystone XL pipeline, and the coal industry, as well as continuing his bailout of education unions and other things he is defining as “infrastructure”, even though most economists shake their heads when they hear about it.
Whether or not Biden is up to the task and gets the “high praise” he received from his much rehearsed and much ballyhooed presser back in March depends on whether he can actually read for an hour straight. The jury is still out on that one!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!