POTUS & SOTU
The State of the Union (SOTU) address is presented before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber. It is in fulfillment of Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that "the President shall from time to time give to Congress information on the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he [sic] shall judge necessary and expedient." From 1790 to 1934, the address was called the Annual Message.
Longest address: Truman, 1946, >25,000 words
Shortest address: Washington, 1790, 833 words
Average length: 19th century: c.10,000 words; late 20th century: c.5000 words
First broadcasts: radio: Coolidge, 1923; TV: Truman, 1947; web: G.W. Bush, 2002
By tradition, one member of the cabinet does not attend the address, in case a disaster in the Capitol kills or incapacitates the line of succession. In response to 9/11, two Senators and two Representatives also absent themselves. [Office of the Clerk of the House; Congressional Research Service]
Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)