Facts and Figures
The following is a series of interesting facts and figures relating to President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address:
- The length of the speech:
- Mr. Bush's speech ran a little over an hour.
- In terms of pages, the speech was 15 pages long.
- There were over 77 "applause breaks" in to the address, places were the Congress, or at least the Republicans, clapped in response to the speech.
- In keeping with security concerns, after all, the three branches of the United States government were in one building, one member of the President's cabinet is always kept away from Capitol Hill and in a secure location. This year, Attorney General John Ashcroft was selected. If the rest of the government was somehow killed while at the address, he would become the new head of the United States (please refrain from comments, it scares me too).
- President Bush, following a tradition set by former President Ronald Reagan, invited 18 guests to view the speech with the First Lady. Among them were:
- Tonja Miles: A recovered drug addict turned drug rehabilitation clinic director, she embodied two of Mr. Bush's goals on the domestic front: the need to provide aid to drug addicts and the need to allow faith-based initiatives sponsored by the federal government (her program operates under the auspices of the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge).
- Richard and Georgia Beck: A retired couple from Colorado. They would find their federal taxes reduced by seven percent if the President's plan to end the "double taxation of dividends" is carried out.
- James and Mildred Beemer: This couple from Peoria, Illinois were present to support Mr. Bush's campaign to offer a prescription drug plan to senior citizens if they enroll in an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). The Beemers switched to an HMO to sidestep rising health costs. Furthermore, Mr. Beemer received exemplary care from his HMO after suffering a heart attack, undercutting claims that HMOs don't provide good service.
- David McCullough: This Pulitzer Prize winner was present because of his biographical work on Harry Truman and John Adams. In the past, the President has expressed interest in the Adamses because they were the only political dynasty besides the Bushees that managed to get two of its members elected president.
- Master Sgt. Juan Carlos Morales: Sergeant Morales is an Army Reservist from New York. He was given the privilege of attending because of his work in rebuilding schools and hospitals in Afghanistan.
- Cpl. Michael Vera: This representative of the Marine Corps was present in the Pentagon on September 11. He ran repeatedly into the wreckage to help rescue injured and trapped comrades.
- Doro Koch: The President's sister.
- Margaret Bush: Mr. Bush's sister-in-law.
- If you thought that Mr. Bush focused more on Iraq than he did the economy, then you were right. The President devoted about one and-a-half pages to his plan to ameliorate the US's economic woes and a little over four pages dealt with Iraq.
- One seat in the gallery of the House Chamber was left empty during the address. It represented the "empty place Americans will always have" as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
sources: CNN, the New York Times, and optonline.net