Biden Preps for the State of the Union Speech and Rowdy Republicans

Fueled by throat-soothing tea, guided by teleprompters and surrounded by six aides and one historian, President Biden spent hours at Camp David last weekend honing a State of the Union speech that will be watched by one of his biggest audiences before the November election.

So the pressure is on.

Mr. Biden, it should be noted, had with him at Camp David a copy of “Possible: How We Survive (and Thrive) in an Age of Conflict,” a book by William Ury, an international negotiation expert.

“You’ll hear me on Thursday,” Mr. Biden said when reporters asked on Tuesday about his preparations.

White House officials have not said what topics the president will address, or whether he will mention Donald J. Trump, his likely 2024 challenger, by name. But Mr. Biden is almost certain to talk about the war in Ukraine, the war between Israel and Hamas, China, abortion, immigration, trade and other topics in a speech he and his aides have been working on since December.

The final speech, which aides say will be edited up until Mr. Biden gives it, will be delivered by a president under pressure to reassure voters that he is not too old for the job and, more than at any point in his tenure, guard against political outbursts that have become commonplace during such speeches. Mr. Biden’s aides say he has prepared for Republicans to heckle him, as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene did last year.

Getting the speech into shape played out, in true Biden fashion, inside a circle of aides who have been around the president for years and treat such proceedings like a state secret.

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