WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama apparently buys into that old slogan about never letting 'em see you sweat.
Despite the pressure of his first speech to a joint session of Congress at a time of national crisis, two senior aides tell me the President quietly had only one full dress rehearsal with a teleprompter at about 6pm ET in the White House's historic map room.
The significance is that predecessors like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush used to go through at least a few - maybe even several depending on the situation - dress rehearsals for a speech like this to get it just right. Just one session suggests a man feeling pretty confident despite the intensity of the crisis.
As one senior aide told me, "This moment in time needs clarity and a sense of purpose."
The White House has released the full text of President Obama's address to Congress this evening:
Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States:
I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.
I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others. And rightly so. If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has – a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family. You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.
The White House has released additional excerpts of President Obama's address to Congress this evening:
"We have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.
"Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.
(CNN) – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will give the Republican response to Pres. Obama’s speech Tuesday night.
The first official "response" to the State of the Union by the opposing party was delivered by Republicans Sen. Everett Dirksen and Rep. Gerald Ford in 1966. Each television network offered a half-hour slot for response time, although the slots were not "roadblocked" (i.e. did not air at the same time on all networks), and did not air immediately after the President's address.
Television time was first available for the opposing party's response immediately following the State of the Union in 1976.
The choice of speaker usually rotates between the opposing party's House and Senate leadership, although on several occasions party leaders have chosen multiple speakers.
A list of past speakers for the opposing party response dating back to 1990 is available after the jump.
(CNN) – President Obama has a tech-savvy reputation. But his speech Tuesday night won’t be the first presidential address to Congress to be webcast live.
Which president beat Obama to the punch on the World Wide Web?
Answer after the jump
(CNN) – It isn’t President Obama’s first stint in the prime-time spotlight — his White House press conference to push for the stimulus came during the evening hours - but the nation’s chief executive will have the national stage to himself tonight.
The State of the Union address wasn’t always a prime-time event. Which president moved the speech from midday to the evening?
Answer after the jump
(CNN) – On television (and on the Internet), millions of Americans will watch President Obama’s speech Tuesday night.
The practice of broadcasting presidential addresses to Congress goes back decades. How far back?
Answers after the jump
(CNN) – A number of traditions govern the logistics of a presidential address to a joint session of Congress.
State of the Union addresses or annual messages are delivered in the chamber of the House of Representatives before members of both the House and Senate, as well as the justices of the Supreme Court, the president's cabinet, and international dignitaries.
The president is escorted into the House chamber by House and Senate leaders. The arrival of the president is announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House then introduces the president.
The top member of each chamber of Congress - the president of the U.S. Senate (the vice president) and the House Speaker – are seated behind the president during the addresses before a joint session. If there is no vice president, or if the vice president does not attend, the president pro tempore of the Senate sits in the vice president's seat.
(CNN) – It would be a tall order for President Obama to set any records in addressing Congress.
Who would the new president have to best to take that spot in the history books?
Answer after the jump