Biden goes long: Speech beat last year’s by about 11 minutes
President Joe Biden, who is known for his loquacity, delivered his longest State of the Union speech yet on Tuesday, clocking in at about 1 hour and 13 minutes.
Biden has long been chatty behind the microphone. Last year, he had a nearly two-hour press conference in prime-time, close to a half hour longer than the longest press conferences held by former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
Obama quipped in his memoir, “A Promised Land,” that “in a town filled with people who liked to hear themselves talk, [Biden] had no peer.”
Since 2000, presidents’ State of the Union speeches have typically lasted about an hour on average, according to a POLITICO analysis of data from the American Presidency Project.
Biden’s first State of the Union speech was 1 hour and 2 minutes in 2022, largely in line with presidents since the 1960s. His first joint address to Congress — not technically a State of the Union — lasted 1 hour and 5 minutes in 2021.
Biden’s speech Tuesday was closer to Trump’s than previously in terms of length. Trump’s State of the Union speeches clocked in at about 1 hour and 20 minutes in his final three, though going 1 hour and 2 minutes in his first joint address to Congress, according to the American Presidency Project.
Bill Clinton has the high-water mark for State of the Union length since 1964 at just shy of 1 hour and 29 minutes in 2000, according to the project. Richard Nixon had the shortest in 1972 at just under 29 minutes.
Biden’s wide-ranging State of the Union speech touted his leadership in crises including the Covid-19 pandemic and the Jan. 6 insurrection and urged unity, calling for Republican lawmakers to “finish the job.” He also pushed to protect Medicare and for a tougher crackdown on fentanyl.
Biden’s prepared remarks checked in at 7,218 words. He stayed largely on script, but true to form, he often added short off-the-cuff quips. He also seemed to pause occasionally to hear what spectators were shouting.