Stay Updated on Developing Stories

President Biden's 2024 State of the Union address

What we covered

  • Fiery address: President Joe Biden gave a forceful speech, with frequent ad-libs, highlighting his work on economic issues for the middle class in his State of the Union speech Thursday night, a high-stakes moment as he looked to convince voters to give him a second term in the White House.
  • What Biden said: The president highlighted his stances on taxes, foreign policy and reproductive rights. He called out Republicans for not supporting a bipartisan border security bill and he blasted former President Donald Trump, without naming him, for "bowing down" to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read our annotated fact check.
  • The rebuttal: In the Republican response, Alabama Sen. Katie Britt slammed Biden, saying he is “out of touch” and does not understand the issues facing American families.
  • What's next: Following Biden's fiery address, members of his Cabinet and senior administration officials will fan out across the country to highlight the president's domestic agenda. Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to travel to Arizona Friday. 
Our live coverage has ended. You can scroll through the posts below to read about Biden's 2024 State of the Union address.
1:57 p.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Key takeaways from President Joe Biden's State of the Union address

President Joe Biden delivers the annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber at the Capital building on March 7 in Washington, DC. Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden delivered a raucous third State of the Union address that could be among his most important speeches as he seeks reelection.

His list of objectives was long: Tout his accomplishments in office, look ahead to a second-term agenda, allay concerns about his age and fitness, and provide a contrast with Republicans, including his rival Donald Trump.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Biden takes on Trump: Biden may not have uttered his predecessor’s name during his remarks, but there was little question that former President Trump was at the center of the State of the Union, making his speech one of the most politically tinged yearly addresses in recent memory. After starting with attacks right out of the gate, a pattern emerged as the speech went on: on abortion, immigration, taxes and more, Biden repeatedly contrasted with Trump.
  • Unpredictable address: State of the Union speeches are often staid affairs, with predictable lists of policies and proposals. But Biden frequently veered off script to ad-lib lines. The casual jousts with Republicans — over their plans on taxes, Social Security, and immigration — lent the president energy. Biden seemed to have built the moments into his speech after last year’s address, when his back-and-forth with Republicans in the crowd emerged as a standout moment.
  • Biden energetic and forceful over age concerns: Questions over Biden’s age and fitness for office have become a principal backdrop to the presidential campaign. Apart from the substance of his speech, how he spoke and looked were important factors in how Americans absorbed his message. The president came out fired up and gave an energetic speech that was a far cry from some of his more subdued efforts that have concerned supporters.
  • American leadership abroad: Foreign policy typically takes a backseat during State of the Union speeches, but for reasons not entirely within his control, Biden is a foreign policy president in a moment of deep global tensions. The Russia-Ukraine war grinds on, with the future of American assistance in doubt. And Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, prompted by the October 7 attacks, has generated a humanitarian crisis that is dividing Biden’s political coalition.
Catch up on all of the takeaways from Biden's third State of the Union address.
1:57 p.m. ET, March 8, 2024

In pictures: Biden's 2024 State of the Union address

President Joe Biden delivered a fiery State of the Union address, one that could be among the most important speeches he has given during his presidency.

See some of the best photos from the end of the night:
President Joe Biden delivers his third State of the Union address. Shawn Thew/Pool/Reuterrs

Civil rights activist Bettie Mae Fikes, bottom center, stands as she is recognized by Biden. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A Congress member holds up four fingers as Biden speaks, calling for four more years of his presidency. Andrew Harnik/AP

Biden speaks to the join session of Congress. Alex Brandon/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

A heckler interrupts Biden's speech. Andrew Harnik/AP

Members of Congress hold signs calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Evelyn Hockstein/AP

Biden greets members of Congress after his speech. Win McNamee/Getty Images

1:04 p.m. ET, March 8, 2024

House GOP members criticize Santos' appearance at State of the Union

George Santos is seen in the House chamber shortly before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol on March 7. Francis Chung/POLITICO/AP

House Republicans criticized former GOP Rep. George Santos’ appearance at the State of the Union last night, which he used as a jumping off point for his primary challenge against Rep. Nick LaLota.
“George Santos is one of the most bizarre people I've ever met. I certainly didn't hug him or greet him with any sort of niceness whatsoever,” said LaLota. “He's an embarrassment here in Congress. It's one of the reasons that we led the charge to expel him.”

Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, another New York Republican, said he was not surprised by Santos’s announcement. “When it comes to George Santos, there's very little that surprises I think anyone for that matter. I think that again, you know, he was expelled from this institution, not just by New Yorkers who dislike him. He was expelled because he's a stain on this institution.”

Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro, another freshman New Yorker, said he didn’t think anything of Santos last night – but noted that the State of the Union should be treated with respect, no matter which party the president belongs to. 

“It's an honor to be in the chamber to listen to the State of the Union, despite not agreeing with the President's analysis or his rhetoric, that the place should be treated with a degree of decency – and I didn't spend any time thinking about his presence,” he said.
12:13 p.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Biden campaign readies monthlong push to amplify State of the Union message

President Joe Biden's 2024 campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez applauds at the Biden for President 2024 campaign headquarters on February 3 in Wilmington, Delaware. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s reelection team is making a monthlong push to amplify the president’s State of the Union message and build on its infrastructure, kicking off what it’s calling the “I’m on Board” campaign.

“We're excited to announce our effort to take the President's message on the road with our March month of action 'I'm on board' campaign,” campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez told reporters, pointing to new efforts to “dramatically expand our volunteer engagement, scale up our battleground staff, launch our coalition groups, and invest in new paid media campaigns.”

In the weeks to come, Biden will hit the road and visit key battleground states that he narrowly won in 2020 in hopes of galvanizing voters that will prove crucial to clinching a second term in office.

There are plans for Biden and Harris to travel to every battleground state in the coming weeks, the campaign said Friday.

The president kicks off that travel Friday with a visit to Pennsylvania followed by Georgia on Saturday, putting him on track for another split-screen moment with Donald Trump who will also be in the Peach State. Next week, Biden will head to New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Vice President Kamala Harris, meanwhile, will focus her travel on Arizona and Nevada, in an effort to shore up Latino voters.

The campaign will spend this month “dramatically expanding our brick-and-mortar presence across key states,” said battleground states director Dan Kanninen, including more than 100 new offices and 350 new team members, who will spend the month training volunteers. 

Contrasts with Trump: After Biden spent much of Thursday’s address drawing contrasts with former President Donald Trump, whom he did not name, one of Biden’s top advisers extended that contrast to how they run their respective campaigns. 

“Trump's bleeding cash. He's really behind and building an infrastructure that you'd expect to be seeing of a former president. He's really not focused on building new people to his side,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon, a former top White House adviser turned campaign chair. 

Among the voters the Biden campaign is trying to bring into its coalition are those who voted for GOP candidate Nikki Haley, arguing that Trump has dismissed them while the Biden campaign has embraced them.

Ad push: The campaign will also launch a $30 million, six-week paid media campaign on digital and television targeting voters in battleground states. This push will include running ads around highly-watched programming, on Black and Hispanic-owned media outlets, and on sports and cultural channels. That includes ESPN and Comedy Central, which airs The Daily Show, which Jon Stewart has been hosting on Monday nights. The campaign also is planning a push around the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
11:18 a.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Biden campaign co-chair calls Biden's use of term "illegal" a "small mistake"

Biden campaign national co-chair Mitch Landrieu described President Joe Biden’s use of the term “illegal” during his State of the Union as a “small mistake” following criticism from Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates. 

“He probably should’ve used a different word and I think he would know that. But what you should notice about that is not that he made a small mistake. The big thing that he did right, and this is what this president always does, is express empathy to people,” Landrieu told CNN’s Sara Sidner Friday. 

Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, immediately expressed concern over Biden’s use of the term “illegal” when referring to the suspect in Laken Riley’s killing during Thursday’s State of the Union. 

“Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal ... To her parents, I say my heart goes out to you. Having lost children myself, I understand,” Biden said as he picked up a pin GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene handed to him earlier Thursday evening.

It was a notable moment for Biden, whose administration has moved away from using the term that’s long been decried as a dehumanizing slur. 

11:03 a.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Hakeem Jeffries calls GOP's lack of decorum at State of the Union “a complete embarrassment” 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries slammed House Republicans for their lack of decorum last night at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, calling their behavior “a complete embarrassment” and framing the divide between Democrats and Republicans as “team get stuff done versus team extreme.” 

“We're just asking our Republican colleagues to stop the political stunts. That was an embarrassment last night, a complete embarrassment,” Jeffries said at a news conference Friday morning. “We have one message for extreme MAGA Republicans who want to lecture us about decorum, get lost. You're a joke. Exhibit A Marjorie Taylor Greene, Exhibit B George Santos.”

He praised all aspects of Biden’s speech last night, declaring: “Smokin’ Joe Biden was on fire during the State of the Union address. He was lit” and said that Biden “crushed MAGA extremism” in his speech. 

When pressed on some outrage from House Democrats over Biden’s usage of the term “illegals” last night he dodged, saying, “Joe Biden delivered an incredible speech that was very well received by the American people beginning, middle and end.”  

On expelled former Rep George Santos, Jeffries said: “It is kind of an extraordinary thing this guy won’t go away.”

10:24 a.m. ET, March 8, 2024

GOP Rep. Zinke says "the bar was set low" for Biden at State of the Union

Rep. Ryan Zinke leaves a House Republican Conference speaker of the House election meeting in Longworth Building on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke said that "the bar was set low" for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address and that "he stayed within the margins," but that the substance "pointed towards a far-left agenda."

"The content was classic tax and spend. The problem is the corporations, the problem is the rich, and the spending never stopped. When you started calculating, well we're going to pay for mortgages. We're going to have new programs. We're gonna have a climate corps. It went on and on and on," Zinke told Kasie Hunt on CNN This Morning. 

The Republican congressman, who has endorsed Donald Trump in 2024 and previously served in his administration as Interior secretary, did acknowledge that whenever the "president does well, I think that's in the best interest in the country."

Looking ahead to the general election, Zinke argued that there's "an opportunity" for Trump to repair his relationship with Nikki Haley.

"It is how to get the moderate voters back, engaged in our politics," the congressman said. 

Read more about how other Republicans are reacting to Biden's State of the Union address.
9:57 a.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell praises Biden's address while calling for a ceasefire in Gaza

Rep. Debbie Dingell praised President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, declaring that "the country sees the man that will be president for another four years." The Michigan Democrat, however, insisted that "we need a ceasefire" and that it's "just unacceptable that we cannot get humanitarian aid" into Gaza.

"I do not know what's going on behind closed doors ... I think we've got to stand up to Netanyahu," Dingell, who represents significant Arab and Muslim communities, told Kasie Hunt on CNN This Morning.

The congresswoman pushed back on Republican criticism that Biden was overly partisan in his speech, arguing that the president made clear he wants to work with Republicans on border security. 

"This is a man that's like me. He wants to work across the aisle. He wants to work with everybody," Dingell said.

The congresswoman did not critique Biden's use of the term "illegal" during the State of the Union in response to GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene heckling him over the death of former University of Georgia student Laken Riley
Catch up on how other Democrats are reacting to Biden's State of the Union speech.
8:53 a.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Biden campaign had its best online fundraising hours around the State of the Union address

President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address in Washington, DC, on March 7. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Biden campaign had its most lucrative hours of online fundraising since the reelection launch during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Thursday, a campaign official said. 

The 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours were the best fundraising hours the campaign has seen with grassroots donors, the official added. Online donations in the 10 p.m. hour exceeded the 9 p.m. hour. The official declined to provide an exact amount raised during the two-hour period.

The Biden campaign previously said it raised $1 million in the lead up to the State of the Union address Thursday and $1.5 million in the 24 hours after Super Tuesday. 

This week’s online hauls come after the campaign saw its strongest grassroots fundraising month of the cycle in February, including raising nearly $2 million in donations on the final day of the month. The campaign and Democratic Party raised at least $42 million in February with exact numbers expected to come later this month.