The biggest political speech so far of 2014 is upon us: President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union Address. The President, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner, will present his political vision for the year to the complete House of Representatives, the Senate, and their collective guests starting at 9 p.m EST. He will also address some of the successes and failures of 2013, and prescribe some policy solutions for the biggest issues facing the nation going forward.

(Update 10:13 p.m.) Obama ends his speech on a note of hope.

Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy.  Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged.  But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen.  The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy.  But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach.

Believe it. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

(Update 9:54 p.m.) Obama touts the success of the Affordable Care Act and brings a chuckle upon acknowledging the fact that Republicans will probably never see eye to eye with him on universal healthcare.

Joe Biden likes it.

(Update 9:50 p.m.) Obama announces his new executive order to raise the minimum wage. “And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty,”

(Update 9:47 p.m.) Obama receives a standing ovation by the women in the crowd as he calls for more women in the work place and legislation pushing for equal pay for women.

(Update 9:44 p.m.) President Obama calls for more access to pre-k programs, as well as better financing for university students trapped by student loan debt.

(Update 9:40 p.m.) President Obama gets the biggest applause and standing ovation of the night for demanding Congress renew unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans. Harkening back to his famous oration during the 2013 SOTU, in which Obama called for gun control laws, the President repeated “they deserve a chance,” to a full applause. “America is strongest when we field a full team,” he said.

(Update 9:37 p.m.) Obama quietly calls for a renewed focus on immigration reform. “When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent and contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone,” he said, “So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”

(Update 9:32 p.m.) Obama calls for new clean energy production and reaffirms the existence of climate change. “Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

(Update 9:26 p.m.) President Obama pitches housing reform: “And since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans”

(Update 9:19 a.m.) President Obama warns against Iranian sanctions: “These negotiations do not rely on trust. Any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.”

(Update 9:15 p.m.) Obama reminds America of our success: “The lowest unemployment rate in over five years.  A rebounding housing market.  A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.  Our deficits – cut by more than half.  And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.” “That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

(Update 9:10 p.m.) President Obama has entered the building and is making his way to the stage. But first, there are many hands to shake.

(Update 9:02 p.m.) The Cabinet files in, lead by Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

(Update 9:00 p.m.) The Supreme Court files in, Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas are conspicuously absent. First Lady Michelle Obama follows closely thereafter to her seat in the gallery.

(Update 8:55 p.m.) John Boehner has taken the podium to read off the names of the members of Congress entering the chamber, a traditional part of the procedure leading up to the President’s entrance.

(Update 8:41 p.m.) Vice President Joe Biden leads the Senators into the chamber.

(Update 8:38 p.m.) The Obamas have left the White House to head over to the Capitol Building.

(Update 8:28 p.m.) Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., will sit together

(Update 8:26 p.m.) 

(Update 8:14 p.m.) Here’s a great chart from the Wall Street Journal on the success of some previous proposals Barack Obama has made during the State of the Union. (Update 8:06 p.m.) United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has been chosen to stay behind and not be present for the State of the Union. There is always one cabinet level government official who is not in the room in case of a disaster that requires someone from the line of succession to step in as commander in chief.

(Update 7:54 p.m.) Michelle Obama is all dressed and ready to head over to the Capitol. She even released a vine to prove it.

(Update 7:46 p.m.) 

(Update 7:41 p.m.) Great infographic from The Atlantic highlighting the difference in the amount of times during the State of the Union presidents have historically talked about men versus women. Despite the “War on Women” the inclusion of females into the speech has greatly increased in recent years. (Update 7:34 p.m.) CNN is preemptively focusing on issues of income inequality leading up to Obama’s address. They are presenting some interesting statistics on the amount of money a family of four needs to live on in the city versus more rural areas in America.

(Update 7:32 p.m.) Senator John Thune of South Dakota give his thoughts on what’s to come from Obama’s speech via Vine.

(Update 7:25 p.m.) Looks like the media frenzy is heating up on Capitol Hill in preparation for tonight’s speech. Here’s a snapshot of the box where all the mics and cameras set up in Statuary Hall have to plug into.

(Update 7:21 p.m.) How long will tonight’s State of the Union last? Here’s a handy chart from the Washington Post showing the average length of a typical SOTU Address. Judging by Obama’s record, it looks like tonight’s event will probably run for an hour. (Update 7:09 p.m.) FOX News is reminding viewers that Obama has so far issued 168 executive orders, and more will likely be introduced tonight. President Ronald Reagan has issued the most executive orders ever, with 381 over the course of eight years.

(Update 6:59 p.m.) The Team at the White House is getting ready, despite the speech still being two hours away.

(Update 6:54 p.m.) Duck Dynasty has made an appearance on Capitol Hill, as the guest of Louisiana Congressman Vance McCallister, ready to be one of the lucky few in the audience for the State of the Union.

(Update 6:45 p.m.) The White House has pre-released the following excerpt from Barack Obama’s speech:

In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together.  Let’s make this a year of action.  That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

(Update 6:37 p.m.) Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho explains what he wants to hear from President Obama tonight.

(Update 4:09 p.m.) Going into the State of the Union, here’s a look from Pew Research Center on how much Americans care today about various policy issues.   (Update: 4:04 p.m.) 


(Update: 4:02 p.m.) Cameras are being set up in the Hall of Statues in preparation for tonight’s speech.

(Update 4:00 p.m.) Here’s a word cloud of the common phrases President Obama used in his 2013 State of the Union Address. It will be interesting to see which big words make a reappearance this year.

(Update 3:58 p.m.) Senator Cornyn speaks to reports giving his thoughts on the upcoming State of the Union.

(Update: 3:56 p.m.) “The Most Accessible and Interactive #SOTU Yet.” Join in here: http://t.co/a3lLy0TeEo via @WhiteHouse

(Update: 3:54 p.m.) For those playing along with drinking games back home, here’s a look at the frequency common words regarding major policy issues have been used in State of the Union Addresses through the years. Courtesy of the Washington Post. 

To get live updates from the InTheCapital crew throughout the State of the Union be sure to follow us on Twitter @InTheCapital or @InTheCapitalGov. Please tweet us or leave a note in the comments section below to let us know what you think about President Obama’s Address.