The State of the Union, more than any other U.S. presidential address, is a heavily negotiated speech. Presidents are always speaking to multiple audiences, but never more than when they fulfill their constitutional obligation to “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.”

World events frequently force the president to address an international audience. Party actors and interest groups fight to get mentions of their causes, as do those within the administration who are fighting for success on Capitol Hill or in the bureaucracy. Members of Congress want their issues mentioned, too, and congressional leaders or White House legislative staffers might support making those members happy to secure their support for unrelated matters.

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