Tuesday, January 16, 2007

State of the Union Speech Coming Up

A week from tonight, President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address.

During the nationally televised address, he will be flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sitting like symbolic bookends of the political divide over the war and other issues.

"Probably the most interesting part of the speech is going to be the tone," said presidential speech expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who directs the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Pelosi is going to be signaling the Democrats by when she applauds and when she doesn't, and Cheney is going to be signaling the Republicans," she said. "In parts where Bush seems more accommodating than Cheney might like, what are Cheney's nonverbal cues going to say to the public?"

Nonverbal cues are nothing. When the speechifying president presses his luck on the war, a chorus of boos from the House chamber will speak louder than words.

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