President Joe Biden is giving his first speech official State of the Union speech tonight. Biden’s SOTU address is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, March 1. But what time is it expected to end?
Most State of the Union Speeches Last Between an Hour and 90 Minutes
Typically, most State of the Union speeches last from an hour to 90 minutes in length, with the majority being closer to an hour long. Since Biden’s speech is beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern, this means it would be safe to estimate that his speech will end sometime between 10 p.m. Eastern and 10:30 p.m. Eastern.
Last year in 2021, Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress was just over an hour long. His speech started at about 34:20 in the video in this link and ended at about 1:39:24, putting the speech at about 61 minutes long. So if Biden’s speech lasts roughly the same amount tonight, then it will end around 10:01 p.m. Eastern.
Most television channels have set aside two hours for the State of the Union speech tonight and the Republicans’ official response. So this gives a little space in the schedule, just in case Biden’s speech goes extra long.
You can watch Biden’s speech in the embedded video below. This is a live stream provided by the White House.
Or you can watch his speech with Spanish subtitles in the video below.
How Long Have Other Presidents’ SOTU Speeches Been?
It can also be helpful to look at other Presidents’ speech lengths to get an idea of what to expect tonight.
In 2020, Trump’s speech was roughly 78 minutes long. His 2019 SOTU speech was 82 minutes long, NBC News reported. His speech in 2018 was 80 minutes long, making it the third-longest in history. However, Trump’s speeches were typically known to be longer than most Presidents’ speeches. His rally speeches almost always clocked in around 90 minutes in length. His Republican National Convention speech in 2016 was 75 minutes long (compared to Mitt Romney’s 40-minute speech in 2012.)
However, Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress was only 60 minutes long, making it the shortest of his joint Congressional speeches.
According to The American Presidency Project, Obama’s first speech in 2009 was even shorter than Trump’s, clocking in at only 51 minutes in length. He got longer after that, but not much longer. His 2010 speech was 69 minutes, his 2011 speech was 61 minutes, his 2012 speech was 64 minutes, his 2013 speech was only 59 minutes, his 2014 speech was 65 minutes, his 2015 speech was 59 minutes, and his 2016 speech was only 58 minutes long. It’s safe to assume that Biden will be more likely to follow Obama’s lead when it comes to State of the Union speech lengths, versus following Trump’s examples.
Given the lengths of past Presidents’ speeches, Biden’s will likely be closer to 60 minutes in length tonight, ending near 10 p.m. Eastern but no later than 10:30 p.m. Eastern. However, once Biden’s speech is over, the events of the evening won’t be complete. The Republicans will also deliver a response to Biden’s speech. This year, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will be delivering the official response. In addition, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib will deliver her own progressive response to the State of the Union for the Working Families Party.
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