state of the union

It was perhaps fitting that the most memorable passage of President Obama's final State of the Union speech should come near its end.

After nearly an hour on the podium, Obama paused and slipped into a mode more suited to a pulpit. In the next few minutes, the president tried to address the state not of the American union but of American politics.

To deliver a presidential address to a joint session of Congress is surely a high privilege, but to do so at the start of one's eighth and final year in that office is a rare occasion indeed.

The U.S. had 43 presidents before Barack Obama, but only five of them stood before the Congress as Obama will this Tuesday night — as twice-elected incumbents beginning their final year with a report on the State of the Union.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

On Tuesday, January 12, President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address, starting at 8 p.m. central time. NPR will provide live anchored coverage of the President's speech as well as the Republican response from Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. This will be the last State of the Union address of his presidency.

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight and is expected to focus on the state of the economy and its impact on the middle class.

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U.S. Sen.Rand Paul will be one of two GOP senators providing a rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Paul is providing the tea party response to the annual address, while U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will provide the Republican Party's official response.