Friday, January 19, 2007

A Shorter State of the Union Address

The Washington Times reports:

President Bush on Tuesday will deliver a stripped-down State of the Union address, leaving out the usual laundry list of policy initiatives, and emphasizing common ground with Democrats in a nod to the new political reality on Capitol Hill, the White House said yesterday.

"Some of the old State of the Union formulas have kind of run their course," spokesman Tony Snow said.

"Part of the calculation here is that a lot of times these speeches, they just go on and on and you lose people," Mr. Snow said. "It's better to spend some time focusing on big issues so that people do get a sense of your engagement with them, and there will be opportunities to pick up other topics in much greater detail later on."

The presentation, which will skip the old, hourlong formula in which "every department and every agency gets a line or a mention," was devised because, as Mr. Snow said with a smile, "we want people to watch."

Hopefully this will be the beginning of a trend. State of the Union speeches are normally far too long.

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