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How Will Obama's "Jobs" Speech Compare to Other Joint Sessions of Congress?


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, September 8th, 2011, 10:30 AM PERMALINK


Historically, Joint Sessions of Congress have been used by presidents to address profound political changes overseen by their administrations. With the exclusion of State of the Union Addresses, presidents have largely assembled both chambers to comment on foreign policy, or other remarkable domestic events. The static economy and dismal job growth that has endured throughout the Obama Administration provides little reason for the President to use a Joint Session of Congress as a façade for a campaign rally. The below list shows how past presidents have used Joint Sessions to address major American events.  

  • President Nixon
    September 9, 1971: Promise to present budget plans later*
    June 1, 1972: European trip report
  • President Ford
    October 8, 1974: Inflation and the Economy
    April 10, 1975: State of the World
  • President Carter
    April 20, 1977: Energy crisis and OPEC
    September 18, 1978: Announcing the Camp David Accords
    June 18, 1979: SALT II
  • President Reagan
    April 28, 1981: Post-Assassination Attempt Address
    April 27, 1983: Establishing the Reagan doctrine on Central American communism
    November 21, 1985: Reporting after the Geneva summit with the Soviet Union
  • President George Herbert Walker Bush
    September 11, 1990: Discussion of the Gulf War and Invasion of Kuwait
    March 6, 1991: Announcing the end of the Gulf War
  • President Clinton
    September 22, 1993: Unveiling of Hillarycare
  • President George W. Bush
    September 20, 2001: September 11th, Announcing the War on Terrorism
  • President Obama
    September 9, 2009: Obamacare

*Nixon’s first joint session speech is the notable exception that proves the rule. This address was composed of broad platitudes about forthcoming economic proposals; a rhetorical dodging of responsibility we have seen President Obama employ many times before.

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