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Views from the Center


Party On!President Barack Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24 isn’t officially a State of the Union Address, since he has just recently taken office. But it will look and sound exactly like a State of the Union, and that can mean only one thing: time for CGD’s ever popular State of the Union (SOTU) BINGO!

During his campaign, Obama described a new vision for U.S. global engagement, a theme that he revisited in his inaugural address. Will his first address to Congress go further? Will he explain that the global economic crisis requires a global response--including changes in U.S. policies to help spur growth in the developing world? Will he help the American people to understand that the siren song of protectionism and restricted migration, however appealing, is dangerous for Americans as well as for poor people in developing countries?

Find out, and have some serious fun, by inviting your friends over for a SOTU BINGO party using these handy <a href=""SOTU BINGO cards, freshly updated for the new administration. Snap pictures and videos and share them with us and the global CGD community through the CGD Facebook Page. You can also tell us about your party by posting a comment on this blog or writing us at (Because we believe in incentives, we are offering valuable prizes for the best photo, best video, and best short written account of a CGD SOTU Bingo Party: A free copy of our newest book: White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President , signed by the volume editor, CGD President Nancy Birdsall.)

For extra fun, and some historical perspective, check out the New York Times' State of the Union Word Tracker, that counts and graphs the number of times the president uttered specific words and phrases in the 2001-2007 State of the Union addresses.  In 2007, for example, President Bush used the following words: "poverty" (3 times), "Africa" (3), "economy" (7), and "change" (2). We’re hoping the New York Times updates their handy tracker for Obama’s first address and future State of the Union speeches.

Will President Obama say more about global development? Use the handy score card included with the SOTU BINGO card set to find out. And don’t forget to send in those pictures, videos and written accounts of your party—and tell us where you played. In past years, CGD SOTU BINGO parties have been held in such diverse locations as Dhaka, Bangladesh; Lexington, KY; and Napa, CA.  Party on!

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.