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.”

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…

  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • In the Ozarks: A look at an African-American monastic community

    KUAF's Jacqueline Froelich takes a look at a monastic community in remote Marion County, the Purple People.
    • Feb 27, 2018
  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017

Slideshows

Most Viewed

  • Pine Bluff native wages war on fraternity culture

    Bloomberg has an interesting feature on Deborah Dunklin Tipton of Memphis, a native of Pine Bluff and heiress to an Arkansas agricultural fortune, who's put her money to work investigating the death of her son Robert in 2012 of what's been ruled an accidental drug overdose following fraternity hazing at High Point University in North Carolina.
  • Breaking: Ken Starr doesn't like the Clintons. Look who's talking about morality

    Surprise. Former Whitewater persecutor Kenneth Starr's new book trashes Bill and Hillary Clinton, as the Democrat-Gazette made clear this morning. You'd think Starr was some moral exemplar as he whines about his "persona non grata" status in Arkansas.
  • Judge denies Jon Woods' request to be free pending appeal UPDATE

    Judge Timothy Brooks has rejected former state Sen. Jon Woods' request that he be allowed to remain free pending appeal of his public corruption conviction to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. UPDATED with news on co-defendant Randell Shelton and a request for a trial delay by Jeremy Hutchinson in another public corruption case.
  • School superintendent Poore not registered to vote

    Blogger Russ Racop dug up a factoid of interest this week on Little Rock School Superintendent Mike Poore: He's not registered to vote in Pulaski County.
  • Judge strikes down Rogers' anti-panhandling ordinance

    The ACLU has won another lawsuit against an anti-panhandling ordinance, this time in Rogers.

Most Recent Comments

 

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