President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address Tuesday at 9 pm Eastern. You can find a live stream at the White House's website here. Alternatively, if you're by a TV and want to tune in, all the major networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox) and the cable news networks (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) will be airing the speech, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find. And the full text of the speech has already been released — you can read it here.
As the president begins his final year in office, he naturally wants to make the case that his two terms have been successful, while also arguing for policies he supports that haven't yet been acted (like tougher gun control measures).
But Obama and his aides have said that this won't be an ordinary State of the Union (which is often a lengthy laundry list of policy proposals that are promptly ignored by Congress). This time around, they've said, the speech will be more "thematic." It's not yet clear, though, just how different the speech will actually be — we'll see.
The State of the Union address has a great deal of history to it. The Constitution says that the president shall "from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union," and George Washington started the tradition of delivering an annual presidential speech to Congress.
But our third president, Thomas Jefferson, hated public speaking, so he delivered only a written message — a tradition that future presidents followed for 112 years, until Woodrow Wilson stunned Washington by bringing back the in-person State of the Union speech in 1913. Read more about the State of the Union's history here.
After the State of the Union will be the Republican Party's response. It's tremendously difficult for an opposition party to follow and top the grandeur of the president's setting — they've tried many different formats over the decades, but none of them have worked too well. This time around, Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina will shoulder the unenviable task — learn more about her here. And the Spanish-language GOP response will be delivered by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who you can read about here.