President Barack Obama (D) is scheduled to give the annual State of the Union address tonight at 9:00 p.m. EST before a joint session of Congress, followed by a Republican Response to be delivered by Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA). This will be Obama’s first official State of the Union address.

As I do every year, I encourage all of my readers to watch both the State of the Union address and the opposition response. I recommend the unfettered and uninterrupted coverage from C-SPAN, but the addresses will also be available on most broadcast channels and cable news networks.

The Constitution requires that the president report to Congress annually on the state of the union, but does not specify the method or form of this report (Article II, Section 3). The in-person State of the Union address has been a tradition since 1913. Transcripts of all 1945-2009 addresses before joint sessions of Congress, including each State of the Union, are available from C-SPAN.