U.S. policies have a huge impact on global development, and more successful development is crucial to U.S. goals. But global development has often been missing in the U.S. political debate. On Monday, January 28, President Bush will deliver his final State of the Union address to Congress, the American people, and to a global audience seeking to understand America's priorities in the world.
CGD State of the Union Bingo is helping people from Washington, D.C. to Dhaka, Bangladesh track global issues on the president's mind in his last year as president and the legacy he hopes to leave behind. Will he mention malaria, the Millennium Challenge Account, trade, poverty, climate change? Several of the 2008 presidential candidates have discussed the need to restore America's image in the world and ensure our own national security, and point to our global development policies as one way we can work to make a better, safer world. Will Bush make similar overtures? Will there be more or less attention to global development than in his past remarks? To help you keep track we prepared these handy printable CGD State of the Union Bingo cards (pdf).
Last year, we added a chart tracking mentions of select global development terms in President Bush's past addresses. Some development issues have sometimes been prominent in President Bush's State of the Union addresses -- HIV/AIDS and trade, for example. But a quick analysis of past speeches suggests that none has been a recurrent theme. This year, we encourage you to use the New York Times' State of the Union Word Tracker, that counts and graphs the number of times the president has uttered "poverty" (6), "Africa" (15), "economy" (88), or "global warming" (0) among the 34,000 words used in his State of the Union addresses.
For past years in addition to our annual CGD State of the Union Bingo night in Washington, friends of the Center have hosted their own Bingo parties as far away as Dhaka, Bangladesh; Lexington, KY; and Napa, CA. Take the cards to your favorite local watering hole or any other location where you can access a broadcast. Post your plans or a report on your festivities as a comment on this blog, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; include a photo and we will be happy to post it.
If CGD State of the Union Bingo sparks a heated discussion about why global development matters for the U.S., check out CGD's Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development to help inform your debate!