Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Thursday Addresses before Joint Session of Congress a Rarity

Bookmark and Share

Since Ronald Reagan, 85 percent of presidential addresses before Congress have been held on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

barackobama05.jpgPutting aside, for the moment, any political motivations behind both Barack Obama's request to address a Joint Session of Congress on the evening of next Wednesday's GOP presidential debate as well as House Speaker John Boehner's refusal to grant it, history is on the side of the president in one respect: Thursdays have historically been unusual days to assemble a joint session for the president.

In fact, it's happened only four times out of nearly 40 such addresses since Ronald Reagan took office.

A Smart Politics review of presidential addresses finds that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are by far the most common days for a president to deliver an address to a Joint Session of Congress - accounting for 85 percent of such addresses since 1981, or 33 of 39.

In addition to the four addresses on Thursdays there have been two on Mondays with none on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.

Obama, who will discuss his jobs and economic growth plan in the address, had originally asked for a Wednesday evening slot in his request to Boehner.

There have been 11 Wednesday addresses to Congress over the last 30 years, of which five were formal State of the Union speeches.

Obama's health care reform address on September 9, 2009 was on a Wednesday evening, as well as his 2010 State of the Union address.

Tuesdays account for 22 of the 39 presidential addresses before Congress across the last five presidents, including 18 of the formal State of the Union addresses during this span.

Congress will not begin their session work until Wednesday, so the Tuesday slot on September 6th was not a real option for the president.

That left Obama with Wednesday and Thursday of next week, but Thursdays have not been the preferred choice for presidents for delivering Joint Session addresses.

In fact, the previous 11 addresses by a president before Congress have been held on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.

The last time a president received a Thursday night slot for this high profile television address was almost 10 years ago, when on September 20, 2001 George W. Bush addressed a Joint Session on the United States response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

The only other Thursday addresses before a Joint Session of Congress over the last 30 years were:

· Bill Clinton's State of the Union address on January 27, 2000.

· George H.W. Bush's 'unofficial' State of the Union address on his administration's goals on February 9, 1989.

· Ronald Reagan's address following the U.S.-Soviet summit meeting in Geneva on November 21, 1985.

Although Obama was met with criticism in some circles last month for waiting weeks to unveil his jobs plan - vacationing in Martha's Vineyard all the while - it should be noted that, largely due to congressional recesses, no presidential addresses have been delivered before a Joint Session of Congress during the month of August during this 30-year span.

The last August presidential address before Congress was Gerald Ford's speech a week into his term on August 12, 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon.

President Obama will speak at 7 pm EST on September 8th.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: The Invisible Erik Paulsen
Next post: New York US House Special Elections Average 30-Point Swing Over the Last Half-Century

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting