By Sean Doorly
The State of the Union message is a speech delivered by the President to Congress and the nation. Much like a CEO of a major corporation, The chief executive (that's the Mr. President to you) reports on the performance of the country, accomplishments of the American people and goals for the future.
Since George Washington's first speech to Congress, the State of the Union message has enjoyed some interesting milestones -- from the first TV broadcast to the first live webcast. Click through our quiz and find out cool facts about this famous presidential address.
Which early president delivered the shortest address?
President-wise you can't get much earlier than George Washington. He delivered his first message to Congress in 1790, and it contained only 833 words. If Washington delivered the speech today, it would've lasted about five to seven minutes. You could change a tire in that time.
2. Which president
delivered the longest State of the Union to date?
The 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman delivered, the longest address -- a whopping 25,000 words. Safe to say that his middle initial didn't stand for "Short."
George W. Bush
Bill Clinton was the unlucky president stuck with a faulty teleprompter. After Clinton realized it was an old speech being displayed, he ad-libbed until his trusty aides fixed the problem. A teleprompter is a machine that shows a speaker a line-by-line reproduction of a script, unseen by the audience. C'mon, did you think they memorized these things?
4. In what year was
the first State of the Union address broadcast on TV?
That honor again belongs to Harry S. Truman, who delivered the first televised State of the Union address in 1947.
5. Where does the
State of the Union take place?
The president delivers his speech in the chamber of the House of Representatives before a joint session of both houses of Congress.
6. Which president entered the Internet age and was the first to offer a live webcast of his speech?
7. What national tragedy postponed the address for the first time?
Space shuttle Challenger
8. How often does the president need to deliver his address?
Once a year
According to Article II, Sec.3 of the U.S. Constitution, "The President 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." That's what legal experts call elastic language.
9. In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt talked about four freedoms in his address. The first three were freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom from want. What was the fourth freedom?
Freedom to vote
10. How many presidents
never delivered a single State of the Union address?