State of the Union Set for Jan. 27

BY Quinn Bowman  January 18, 2010 at 5:52 PM EST

The White House announced Monday evening that President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 9:00 pm EST.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says the speech will be broadcast live on national television and streamed on the White House Web site. It will be Mr. Obama’s first formal State of the Union address. The president spoke to a joint session of Congress in his first days as president in 2009, but that was not technically a State of the Union address.

The speech comes at a pivotal moment for one of the president’s core legislative issues: health care. House and Senate negotiators continue to assess how to reconcile differences between the two health care overhaul bills and the close race to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat has added yet more uncertainty to the prospects for a final agreement on the measure.

According to the New York Times, February is sweeps month for television networks, when prime time airwaves are more valuable than usual, so executives launched an aggressive campaign to get the White House to schedule the speech before January ended.