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state of the union wiki

As President Barack Obama (pictured) gears up for tonight’s State Of The Union address, many will expect him to cite crucial issues such as federal spending and immigration. But for the readers not too familiar with SOTU’s, NewsOne has you covered with our Eight Things You Didn’t Know About The State Of The Union Address list.

RELATED: Obama’s Got Killer Swag After State Of The Union Address

1. George Washington was the first president to deliver a State Of The Union Address in 1790 at New York City’s Federal Hall. [CBS News]

2. According to Article II,  Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the president is mandated to give a series of SOTU’s during his terms. “He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State Of The Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” [Cornell University Law School]

RELATED: Obama’s Past State Of The Union Addresses In Review

3. In more recent SOTU’s, it has become commonplace for presidents to invite guests symbolizing issues they plan to touch on. For example, President Obama has invited the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old recently shot and killed in Chicago who performed at his inauguration. Obama has spoken out against the recent episodes of gun violence gripping the country. [CBS News]

Watch President Obama’s 2012 State Of The Union address:

4. In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton was preparing to deliver his inaugural State Of The Union Address when he realized that his staff had placed the wrong speech on his teleprompter. For seven minutes, Clinton ad-libbed his speech until staff members located a laptop with the correct speech and plugged it in. [CBS News and L.A. Times]

5. The address was previously referred to as “The President’s Annual Message To Congress” through much of the 20th century. According to the Office Of The Clerk Of The House Of Representatives, it became informally known as the State Of The Union in 1942; the general name finally stuck in 1947. [CRS Report For Congress]

6. The State Of The Union serves as a report to Congress and the nation on national conditions, an outlet for the President to outline his legislative agenda for the country and share his program for Congress’ upcoming session. [CRS Report For Congress]

7. President Truman’s 1946 State Of The Union is regarded as the longest in history, containing over 25,000 words. However, the reason for this was because it combined the SOTU with Annual Budget Messages. Truman also didn’t give the speech, opting to have a chief executive personally deliver it to Congress instead. [CRS Report For Congress]

8. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt holds the record for most State Of The Union addresses with 12. [CRS Report For Congress]

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