State of the Union: The Night of a Big Speech

What happens in the nation's capitol when the president gives a big speech? The Daily Beast takes a look at the route the president takes.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP-pool

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters-Landov

What happens in the nation's capitol when the president gives a big speech?

Newsweek and the Daily Beast were lucky to be in the presidential reporting pool the night President Obama delivered his third State of the Union address to Congress. And what happens when the president gives a big speech? Washington dresses for the occasion. Limousines are shined, suits are pressed, security is out and the streets are closed for the presidents journey from the White House to Capitol Hill. The city's throngs of political reporters, meanwhile, salivate for advanced copies of the president's remarks. A look at Washington's most official night.

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Bomb Technicians Ryan Dunham (R) and John Wisham (L) inspect the roof of the US Capitol on the eve of US President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress and the Supreme Court January 24, 2012.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters-Landov

News networks turn the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall into a temporary television studio for coverage of President Obama's State of the Union address.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters-Landov

News networks turn the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall into a temporary television studio for coverage of President Obama's State of the Union address.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP-pool

Lights from the motorcade carrying President Barack Obama are reflected as the motorcade heads to the U.S. Capitol for the President to deliver the State of the Union address.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Barack Obama, flanked by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., left, and House Majortity Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia arrives on Capitol Hill and readies to enter the Hall in order to give the State of the Union address.

Saul Loeb / AP

President Barack Obama embraces retiring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., as members of Congress applaud before his State of the Union address.

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U.S. President Barack Obama greets Representative Gabrielle Giffords with a hug, before his State of the Union address.

Susan Walsh / AP-pool

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.

Saul Loeb / AP-pool

President Barack Obama pauses before he delivers his State of the Union address.

Saul Loeb / AP-pool

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill.

Evan Vucci / AP

Members of Congress read along as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address.

Win McNamee

House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address.

LARRY DOWNING

Warren Buffett's assistant Debbie Bosanek (L) sits in the First Lady's box with Jackie Bray, Process Operator at the Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub.

Jose Louis Magana / Reuters-Landov

Journalists watch a television broadcast of U.S. President Barack Obama delivering his State of the Union address.

J. Scott Applewhite

President Barack Obama pauses during the State of the Union address. 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama waves after delivering the the State of the Union address.

Saul Loeb / Landov-pool

President Barack Obama signs autographs as he leaves the Capitol after delivering the State of the Union address.