President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union by the numbers

February 13, 2013

The 2013 State of the Union is now behind us. President Obama returned to the economic issues that dominated much of his first term, focusing his remarks on the middle class. How did the speech stack up by the numbers?


President Obama's State of the Union address. AFP/Getty photo.

6,419: The number of words in Obama's speech. It's the president's second shortest State of the Union, after his 2009 address, and took an hour to deliver.

637: The number of tweets sent by members of Congress during the speech. There were 1.36 million total tweets from the start of Obama's speech to the end of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's response.

101: The number of lines in Obama's speech that were followed by applause, according to the transcript. Some of the biggest bipartisan standing ovations: when Obama called for passing comprehensive immigration reform, when he pledged to encourage fatherhood, when he announced that the war in Afghanistan will end in 2014, and when he told the story of Desiline Victor, the 102 year-old Miami woman who stood in line for hours waiting to vote.

8: The number of times Obama used the word "stronger." The theme of his speech was not that the state of the union is strong but that it has improved -- and will continue to improve if Congress passes the items on his agenda.

7: Mentions of Afghanistan in the speech, including two references to Afghan security forces and one to the Afghan government. All came during a section on the end of that war. The speech was much heavier on foreign policy than his inaugural address -- al Quaeda got four mentions -- but there was no particular emphasis on one country. Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Mali, Burma, North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Mexico, Japan, Israel and Syria all got nods.

 6: The number of "middle class" mentions in the speech, as well as the number of references to the minimum wage, which Obama proposed be raised to $9 an hour.

2: The number of references to Mitt Romney, both positive. Who would have guessed?

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Aaron Blake · February 13, 2013