Those windy state of the Union speeches; even Clinton didn't like them | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Those windy state of the Union speeches; even Clinton didn't like them

Posted By on Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 7:49 AM

click to enlarge IN CONCLUSION: Clinton at 1997 SOTU. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • IN CONCLUSION: Clinton at 1997 SOTU.
The continuing release of documents from the Clinton White House turned up this nugget yesterday: Even Bill Clinton, the man responsible for the delivery, thought State of the Union speeches were too long. From the New York Times:

But in a meeting with aides as he prepared for the 1996 address, Mr. Clinton was the one repeatedly expressing frustration about having to appease the many interests who were pushing for a mention.

“That’s what’s the matter with the State of the Union address,” he said at one point in a newly released transcript of the meeting. “That’s why people don’t listen to them, because you’ve to push every damn little button.”

“Somebody ought to give a five-minute State of the Union,” he added, prompting laughter in the room. “Really, this is crazy. It’s too damn long.”

At another point in the meeting, as Mr. Clinton and his aides deliberated whether to name specific Eastern European countries that had become partners with the United States since the fall of the Soviet Union, Mr. Clinton reminisced about his State of the State speeches in Arkansas.

“You know, the governor of Arkansas used to have to give two inaugural speeches, one in the chamber of the legislature and then one on the steps of the Capitol,” Mr. Clinton said.

“That’s what we ought to do with the State of the Union,” he continued. “We ought to be able to go up there in the afternoon and talk for three hours and 15 minutes and mention every interest group” and then “go back at night and speak for 15 minutes and tell the country what you want to say.”

After a round of laughter, Mr. Gore chimed in: “Well, these countries don’t have that many electoral votes.”

Mr. Clinton’s State of the Union speech that year turned out to be the least wordy of his tenure.

The link to the Times includes reports on a number of other topics, including gays in the military. And there was advice from Paul Begala on Clinton's farewell speech in 2000. This one's for you, Br'er Rapert:

The central message of the speech, Mr. Begala wrote, should be “We, the people.”

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation