What Happened—And What Didn’t—From Last Year’s State of the Union

An annotated tour of the president’s 2014 speech.

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Priscilla Alvarez
Jan. 20, 2015, 3:59 a.m.

To­night’s State of the Uni­on will set the tone of Pres­id­ent Obama’s fi­nal two years in of­fice. This year marks the first time the pres­id­ent will de­liv­er the an­nu­al ad­dress be­fore a Con­gress en­tirely in the hands of his op­pon­ents, and he’ll have to make a choice: play nice, or play the “pen-and-phone” strategy.

Whatever the tone, the con­tent of Obama’s speech is not go­ing to sound much dif­fer­ent than the one in 2014—and all of his speeches be­fore that. State of the Uni­on ad­dresses tend to be the same year after year, a pres­id­en­tial policy wish list for the com­ing year. The fate of these re­com­mend­a­tions is usu­ally the same, too: most of the pro­pos­als don’t come to pass.

For a look at what did and didn’t hap­pen last year, check out an an­not­ated ver­sion of Obama’s 2014 speech be­low. (Click­ing on the high­lighted por­tions of text brings up our com­ments.)


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