Tonight, Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address, but among all the words he wrote down with his left hand like a weirdo, the most important ones will come after the phrase "The State of the Union is." This incredibly important phrase is what Americans look forward to all year, and it's totally not forgotten within an hour of the speech. Remember what the word was in 1962? Of course you do. Everyone does. It was "whimsical." Here, selected from the totally-real, not-fictional-at-all annals of history, are the five most important words and phrases from the past century to ever sum it all up.
"The State of the Union is..."
1. "...fine! I said it was fine. Why do you keep asking how the State of the Union is? It's fine. OK?! I'm going to my room!" - Jimmy Carter, 1978.
This famous (and now infamous) statement led concerned Americans to drop the matter of the economy and Iranian hostage situation for most of 1978. Several months later, a sobbing Jimmy Carter came back on TV in his pajamas to say "things are not fine, OK? I just wanted everyone to be happy." Sadly for Carter, the nation was more upset that Jimmy tried to hide the problem than they were about stagnant wages and declining American prestige.
2. "...the absolute tits." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1943.
The 40s were a different time, but there's a reason FDR was elected four times—pizzazz!
3. "...very good." - Gerald Ford, 1976.
Historians today think Gerald Ford will be remembered as a more competent, accomplished, and intelligent leader than the bumbling Chevy Chase impression on Saturday Night Live led millions to think. That time he forgot his State of the Union speech at home and ad-libbed the first five minutes until someone fetched it didn't help, though.
4. "...tumescent and throbbing with potential. Its swollen veins pumping creativity, quivering with the urgent need to unleash a torrent of prosperity onto the heaving bosom of the future." - Bill Clinton, 1995.
Although it outraged Republican opponents of thesauruses in public schools, Bill Clinton's vivid imagery of how the Internet was supercharging a rapidly-growing economy is widely credited with increasing turnout among women aged 30-65 who are fans of supermarket paperback novels—a notoriously hard-to-reach demographic.
5. "...Well? Anyone? None of you have any idea, do you?" - Barack Obama, 2010.
Although Obama's final State of the Union is tonight, who can forget his uncomfortable 2010 address? After stating "The State of the Union is..." the former college professor looked over the room, frowned, and then spent an uncomfortable hour calling on the Representatives and Senators in the audience to see who had done the reading. Awkwardly, no one had. This led to friction with Supreme Court Justices, especially Antonin Scalia, because according to the Constitution, they're technically only auditing the State of the Union, and so shouldn't have to worry about being called on.