The Other States in the State of the Union
Twenty-one states never received a shout-out from Barack Obama across his seven official State of the Union addresses
Unlike Barack Obama’s six previous State of the Union addresses, the president did not reference any of the First Lady’s guests to humanize his policy proposals and provide anecdotal color to what has frequently been a laundry-list speech.
Overall, the president spoke in broader terms than he has in past addresses – eschewing episodic stories of specific individuals for broader themes to illustrate his policy positions related to the economy, environmental issues, and national security.
However, as has been custom in his past addresses, Obama still made specific references to various states and cities over the course of his speech to provide some color and punch to his overarching prose.
In fact, right off the top of his remarks, the president referenced Iowa for the first time in a State of the Union address – a state which will hold its first in the nation presidential caucuses in less than three weeks:
I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa. I’ve been there. I’ll be shaking hands afterwards if you want some tips.
Iowa also received another mention later in the speech when discussing progress in clean energy:
In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.
Overall, the president has referenced 29 states a collective 84 times across his seven State of the Union addresses with New York receiving the most with seven.
On Tuesday evening Obama mentioned the Empire State (and Arizona) in a statement about solar energy:
On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average.
Arizona and North Carolina are next with six State of the Union mentions each followed by Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania with five, Michigan and Texas with four, and California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with three.
The president has referenced Alabama, Iowa, and Tennessee twice with one each for Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia.
That means 21 states never received a shout-out from President Obama in his annual addresses to Congress dating back to 2010: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.
Six of these 21 states were also among the dozen never to see one of its residents receive an invitation from Michelle Obama to view one of the president’s seven addresses from her balcony box: Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Overall, President Obama has made references to 25 states and cities in the South, 24 in the Midwest, 21 in the Northeast, and 14 in the West.
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