Why should Americans care about the president's SOTU address?

The State of the Union speech is one of the biggest pieces of political theater every year and rooted in a simple requirement in the U.S. Constitution that directs the president to “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” 

But in modern times, it’s a televised extravaganza where every detail is carefully scrutinized.

In the speech, President Biden will tout his achievements over the past year and since he took office. Historically, members of the president’s party loudly applaud during the speech while the opposition party remains seated or even voices displeasure with certain talking points.

President Biden’s age is expected to be under the spotlight on Thursday night as the 81-year-old tries to dissuade public perception from some that his mental acuity has declined to the point where he is unfit for office.

Television cameras will pan across the chamber during the State of the Union, so you’ll have a clear view of everyone in the audience too. This is a chance for lawmakers and guests to send a message of their own with their clothing or facial expressions.

Democratic women wore white, the color of the women’s suffrage movement, during Trump’s State of the Union in 2019. In 2022, some lawmakers wore blue and yellow ribbons to show their support for Ukraine.

After Biden’s speech, Alabama Sen. Katie Britt will give the Republican rebuttal to his comments.

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