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What you might not know about the State of Union

Former President George W. Bush winks while delivering his final State of the Union address on January 28, 2008.
Former President George W. Bush winks while delivering his final State of the Union address on January 28, 2008.
  • Longest State of the Union address was Harry Truman's on January 22, 1946
  • The shortest: George Washington's 1790 address
  • Former President George W. Bush was a big fan of wearing blue ties

Washington (CNN) -- Here are a few facts about the president's annual address to Congress that probably won't show up in the headlines:

Honey, which tie should I wear?

2010: Red with white stripes (President Obama)

2009: Red with white stripes (Obama)

2008: Blue (George W. Bush)

2007: Blue (Bush)

2006: Blue (Bush)

2005: Red (Bush)

2004: Red (Bush)

2003: Blue (Bush)

2002: Blue (Bush)

2001: Red (Bush)

2000: Red (Bill Clinton)

1999: Blue (Clinton)

State of the Union address preview
What will Obama say in State of Union?

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask:

-- Obama is the only African-American to have addressed a joint session or joint meeting of Congress.

-- Over the years, several black speakers from other countries have addressed a joint meeting of Congress. Among the notable examples are Nelson Mandela in 1990 and 1994 and Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2006.

-- Although Woodrow Wilson holds the record for most speeches delivered before Congress, 26, Franklin Roosevelt delivered the most State of the Union addresses -- 12.

-- Two presidents never prepared any type of State of the Union or annual message: William Henry Harrison and James Garfield. Harrison died after only 32 days in office, Garfield after only 199 days.

-- The first annual message broadcast on radio was President Calvin Coolidge's speech on December 6, 1923.

-- The first televised State of the Union was delivered by President Harry Truman on January 6, 1947.

-- The first prime-time State of the Union was delivered on January 4, 1965. President Lyndon Johnson moved the speech from its traditional midday time slot to the evening to attract a larger television audience.

-- The first State of the Union to be webcast live on the internet was President George W. Bush's 2002 address.

-- The first and only postponement of a State of the Union occurred in 1986. President Ronald Reagan was scheduled to deliver his address on January 28, 1986, the same day the space shuttle Challenger exploded. The speech was delayed until February 4.

-- Longest State of the Union: Harry Truman's first State of the Union address, on January 22, 1946, was more than 25,000 words.

-- The shortest: George Washington's 1790 address was only 833 words and is believed to have lasted less than 10 minutes.

Just the facts, ma'am


-- Wednesday, January 27, 2010: 69 minutes long and 89 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, February 24, 2009: 52 minutes and 61 applause interruptions.

George W. Bush:

-- Monday, January 28, 2008: 53 minutes and 70 applause interruptions.

-- Wednesday, January 23, 2007: 50 minutes and 63 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, January 31, 2006: 51 minutes and 64 applause interruptions.

The longest applause interruption, clocked at 52 seconds, was in honor of Staff Sgt. Daniel Clay, who was killed while serving in Iraq.

-- Wednesday, February 2, 2005: 54 minutes, 66 applause interruptions and 44 standing ovations.

-- Tuesday, January 20, 2004: 54 minutes and 67 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, January 28, 2003: 67 minutes including applause time; 19 "Saddam Hussein" references; 22 "terror"/"terrorism"/"terrorist" references; one seat left empty in the gallery in honor of September 11 victims.

Other terms and the number of times they were uttered: Tax: 13, Nuclear: 11, War: 12, Evil: 4, Compassion: 4, Environment: 4, Recession: 2.

-- Tuesday, January 29, 2002: 48 minutes and 78 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, February 27, 2001: 49 minutes and 86 applause interruptions. The welcoming applause lasted more than five minutes.


-- Thursday, January 27, 2000: 88 minutes, Clinton's longest and 128 applause interruptions -- a record for him.

-- Tuesday, January 19, 1999: 77 minutes and 95 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, January 27, 1998: 72 minutes; length of applause was four minutes during the speech; the welcoming applause lasted 2 minutes, 25 seconds; 101 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, February 4, 1997: 60 minutes and 69 applause interruptions; length of applause: 9 minutes.

-- Tuesday, January 23, 1996: 62 minutes; more than 60 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, January 24, 1995: 81 minutes; more than 96 bursts of applause; 39 standing ovations.

-- Tuesday, January 25, 1994: 63 minutes; 60 rounds of applause and 18 standing ovations.

-- Wednesday, February 17, 1993: 65 minutes and more than 60 bursts of applause.

George H.W. Bush

-- Tuesday, January 28, 1992: 50 minutes and 76 applause interruptions.

-- Tuesday, January 29, 1991: 47 minutes and more than 50 bursts of applause. The longest applause lasted more than a minute.

Compiled by CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon.

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