UPDATE – Jan. 28, 7:15 p.m.: Watch Obama’s State of the Union address in the video, above. Streaming will start at 9 p.m. ET
The address itself has its roots in the U.S. Constitution, which says the President will “from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union,” but there’s no expressed obligation for it to be annual. In 1913, however, Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of delivering it in front of Congress in person (it used to be delivered in a letter). It has since become an annual opportunity for the President to present his agenda.
SEE ALSO: What Would YOU Ask Barack Obama?
Obama’s speech is expected to focus on topics like income inequality, immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, and the use of executive orders to pass reforms without running them through Congress, if it remains gridlocked. Obama is reportedly going to highlight an executive order during the address that will raise federal workers’ minimum wage to $10.10.
We’ve rounded up a number of different ways to watch, and interact with, Obama as he delivers his fifth State of the Union Address tonight online, below.
The White House will live stream the State of the Union address on its official website, once again offering an “enhanced version” that will display charts, graphs, and statistics alongside the video of the speech. The administration started offering this version of the speech in 2011, and last year 1 million Americans tuned in online, according to the White House.
The Obama administration is stressing social media and interactivity more than ever this year. Viewers are encouraged to tweet using the #SOTU hashtag to comment on Obama’s remarks as well as to share the “exclusive graphics” that will be displayed in the enhanced online version. The White House will also tweet highlights from Obama’s speech on its official Twitter account.
Viewers can respond by submitting their questions to the President in the form of short videos uploaded to YouTube or Google+ using the hashtag #AskObama2014. Obama will answer some of these questions during a Google+Hangout on Friday.
The White house is dubbing this initiative the first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day,” in reference to a 1837 event in which President Andrew Jackson hosted an open house for Americans to come and ask questions of government officials, as well as take a slice of a 1,400-pound block of cheese, as the White House explains in a blog post announcing the event. (It’s also, incidentally, a reference to the Aaron Sorkin show The West Wing — the fictional Bartlet Administration had a similar tradition.)
Obama’s speech will also be available on the White House official YouTube channel. The Republican response, by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), will be live streamed on the Speaker of the House channel.
The Tea Party’s response, which will be delivered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), will also be broadcast on YouTube, on the Tea Party Express channel. Not to be outdone, social media savvy — and potential 2016 Presidential hopeful — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will deliver a response on his personal channel.
The Republican Party will embed the official response by McMorris Rodgers on its State of the Union website. The site doesn’t have the interactive features that the White House offers, but it does include an embedded, real-time Twitter stream.
Media outlets like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and others will also use their respective channels to cover the event,according to YouTube.
Bing and Fox News return this year with the Bing Pulse website, which will offer viewers an online voting tool to share their opinions, though it will not include embedded video of the speech. Viewers will be able to vote every five seconds to express their reaction to Obama and McMorris Rodgers speeches, choosing from five options: strongly agree, somewhat agree, neutral, somewhat disagree and strongly disagree.
Their responses will then be plotted in a line graph that will constantly update. The graph will be visible both online and on Fox News.
Last year, 12.9 million votes were recorded, according to a press release
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