Top 10 State of the Union Addresses

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7. Bill Clinton - January 23, 1996

A little over a year removed from the 1994 elections, when Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, Clinton signaled his move to the center by stating that "the era of big government is over." He would go on to sign welfare reform legislation in August, and, buoyed by a strong domestic economy, would win re-election later that year.

In the speech, which took place in the wake of the famous government shutdown, Clinton promoted fiscal rectitude, arguing in favor of a government that "lives within its means" and asserting that "deficit spending must come to an end." Later in the speech he boasted that the "federal government today is the smallest it has been in 30 years."

The speech also included support for V-chip, which would allow parents to control what programs their children watch, raising the minimum wage and maintaining military engagement across the world. "We must not be the world's policeman. But we can and should be the world's very best peacemaker." Clinton said.

While most State of the Union addresses don't impact the public's view of the president, according to Gallup, this address benefited Clinton. Before the speech, he held an approval rating of 46 percent. Afterwards, his approval rating jumped up to 52 percent.


Text of Address

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