State of the Union Address: Speech by President Clinton (1995)
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Published on May 5, 2012
The 1995 State of the Union address was given by President Bill Clinton to a joint session of the 104th United States Congress on January 24, 1995. This was the first speech delivered to a Republican-controlled Congress since 1954. This was also the first time a Republican Speaker sat in the chair since 1954. The Speaker was Newt Gingrich of Georgia.
The president discussed his proposals of a New Covenant vision for a smaller government and proposing tax reductions. The president also discussed crime, the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, illegal immigration, and the minimum wage. Regarding foreign policy, he urged assistance in Mexico's economic crisis, additional disarmament in cooperation with Russia and other international treaties, stopping North Korea's nuclear weapons program, legislation to fight terrorists, and peace between Israel and its neighbors. Discussion of the failed attempt to overhaul health care was refocused on more limited efforts to protect coverage for those who have health insurance and expand coverage for children.
The speech lasted nearly 1 hour and 25 minutes and consisted of 9,190 words. In terms of word count it is the longest State of the Union speech in history.
The president acknowledged many Americans of past and present in his speech. Among them were: Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House Ronald Reagan, who similarly had been president while Congress was controlled by the opposing party; also in the past year he announced his Alzheimer's disease diagnosis Jacklyn H. Lucas, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the World War II
The Republican Party response was delivered by Governor Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey. This was the first response given exclusively by a state governor and, delivered in Trenton, the first outside Washington, DC.
Conservative William Kristol called the address the "most conservative State of the Union by a Democratic president in history."
Federico Peña, the Secretary of Transportation, served as the designated survivor.
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