Will Obama's State of the Union be upstaged again?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Memorable State of the Union Moments from the Past
See Gallery
Will Obama's State of the Union be upstaged again?

2009 -

Like many presidents, Obama didn't give an official State of the Union his first year in office. But he did use a similar event - a televised address to a joint session of Congress - to pitch health care reform.

(AP Photo/Jason Reed, pool)

2009 -

What's remembered about that speech? Rep. Joe Wilson yelling at the president, "You lie!"

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

2009 -

The South Carolina Republican apologized afterward. The Democratic-led House rebuked him for acting out.

(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

2010 -

Dubious manners were in the spotlight, again.

In his first formal State of the Union, Obama took the unusually antagonistic step of criticizing a Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance as six black-robed justices listened from the front row.

(AP Photo/Network Pool)

2010 - 

TV cameras caught Justice Samuel Alito wincing, shaking his head and mouthing "not true."

The result? Weeks of Republicans and Democrats arguing about who was ruder, the justice or the president.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

2011 -

It took tragedy to restore civility.

Obama's address came just 17 days after a gunman fired on a congresswoman and her constituents at a gathering in Tucson, Arizona. Six people died and 13 were wounded, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head.

(Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images)

2011 -

Images from the House chamber that night were haunting: Lawmakers wearing black-and-white ribbons in memory of the casualties. An empty seat to honor Giffords.

(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

2011 -

And in first lady Michelle Obama's box, the mother, father and brother of Christina Green, a 9-year-old girl killed when she went to meet her congresswoman.

That night lawmakers started a continuing tradition: some Republicans and Democrats now sit together for the big speech, instead of dividing into partisan camps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

2012 -

Giffords' bittersweet return was the high point of the next State of the Union.

Frail but smiling, holding colleagues' arms for support as she walked into the chamber, Giffords was greeted with a standing ovation, chants of "Gabby, Gabby, Gabby," and a hug and kisses on the cheek from Obama.

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

2012 - 

The next day, she resigned her seat to continue her long rehabilitation.

(AP Photo/House Television)

2013 -

Obama talked about restoring the middle class and tackling climate change.

What was everybody talking about the next day?

 (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File-Pool)

2013 -

Marco Rubio's awkward reach for a bottle of water.

The Florida senator, often named as potential presidential material, gave the Republican response to the State of the Union. Halfway through, he became so parched that he all but dived for a plastic bottle somewhere off screen, stood up to take a quick sip of water, and then stooped and reached again to put the bottle back.

(AP Photo)

2013 -

"I needed water - what am I going to do?" Rubio joked on TV the next morning.

A Saturday Night Live spoof ensued.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

2014 -

Ronald Reagan started the State of the Union tradition of inviting everyday Americans and telling their inspirational stories.

Last year, a wounded war hero stole the show.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2014 - 

Obama told how he had met Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg before his injury and again after a roadside bomb in Afghanistan nearly killed him.

Remsburg, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart who served 10 deployments, rose to his feet with the help of his father. His moved slowly, blind in one eye, left hand curled in a brace, a long scar across the right side of his head.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

2014 - 

Congress members gave him the longest, heartiest applause of the evening, a nearly 2-minute standing ovation.

Remsburg flashed a thumbs-up.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Whatever a president says in the State of the Union, it's usually fast forgotten.

The ritual sometimes yields a lasting phrase, like George W. Bush's "axis of evil" or Bill Clinton's "the era of big government is over."

But more often, it's something from the hullabaloo around the speech that becomes memorable - unseemly behavior, or an inspirational guest, or an oddball incident.

Click through striking moments from Obama's previous addresses above.

Five Years of Obama's State of the Union

More State of the Union coverage:
Complete guide to the 2015 State of the Union
Newcomer to give GOP response
US man freed from Cuba will be at the SOTU
Look at the real state of the union
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners