1994 State of the Union Address

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The 1994 State of the Union address was given by President Bill Clinton to a joint session of the 103rd United States Congress on January 25, 1994. The speech was Clinton's first official State of the Union address, although he had similarly addressed a joint session of Congress a year prior shortly after taking office.

The president discussed the federal budget deficit, taxes, defense spending, crime, foreign affairs, education, the economy, free trade, the role of government, campaign finance reform, welfare reform, and promoting the Clinton health care plan. President Clinton threatened to veto any legislation that did not guarantee every American private health insurance. He proposed for policies to fight crime: a three strikes law for repeat violent offenders; 100,000 more police officers on the streets; expand gun control to further prevent criminals from being armed and ban assault weapons; additional support for drug treatment and education.

The president began the speech with an acknowledgment of former Speaker Tip O'Neill, who died on January 5, 1994. While discussing additional community policing, the president honored Kevin Jett, a New York City cop attending the address who had been featured in a New York Times story in December 1993.[1]

The speech lasted 63 minutes[2] and consisted of 7,432 words.[3] It was the longest State of the Union speech since Lyndon B. Johnson's 1967 State of the Union Address. Republican Representative Henry Hyde criticized the speech as "interminable".[4]

The Republican Party response was delivered by Senator Bob Dole of Kansas.[5] Dole argued that health care in the United States was not in crisis, the Republican opposition to Clinton's plans in the previous year had been popular, and the deficit reduction was the temporary result of tax increases.[4]

Mike Espy, the Secretary of Agriculture, served as the designated survivor.

Contrary to common belief,[6] Clinton did not have to recite the speech from memory because the teleprompter was loaded with the wrong speech. This had happened the previous year: in a speech Clinton gave to Congress on 22 September 1993 detailing the Clinton health care plan, the teleprompter was loaded with the wrong speech. Specifically, the one he gave to a joint session of Congress shortly after he was sworn-in in 1993. Teleprompter operators practiced with the old speech and it was accidentally left in, forcing Clinton to ad-lib for almost ten minutes.[7][8][9][10] The two incidents are often conflated. What happened is that President Clinton simply referenced the September 1993 incident.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Norman, Michael (December 12, 1993). "One Cop, Eight Square Blocks". New York Times. 
  2. ^ Woolley, John; Peters, Gerhard. "Length of State of the Union Messages and Addresses (in minutes)". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  3. ^ Woolley, John; Peters, Gerhard. "Length of State of the Union Messages and Addresses (in words)". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  4. ^ a b Clymer, Adam (January 26, 1994). "STATE OF THE UNION: The Republicans; In G.O.P. Response to Clinton, Dole Denies There Is 'Crisis' in Health Care". New York Times. 
  5. ^ Woolley, John; Peters, Gerhard. "List of Opposition Responses to State of the Union Addresses". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  6. ^ Wolf, Z. Byron. "Telemprompter Inventor "Hub" Schlafly Dies; Device Changed Public Address in America". The Note. ABC News. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Baker, Peter (5 March 2009). "The (very) scripted president". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "THE STATE OF THE UNION : The State of the TelePrompTer". Los Angeles Times. 26 January 1994. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "George Stephanopoulos". The Daily Show. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Wolf, Z. Byron. "Anecdotes". PBS. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 

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Preceded by
1993 Presidential Address to Congress
State of the Union addresses
1994
Succeeded by
1995 State of the Union Address