Today Barack Obama delivers his final State of the Union Address. The annual speech is normally meant to serve the president’s rallying cry to congress, and often includes a list of priorities that he seeks to achieve legislatively. During Obama’s presidency, about 30-40 of these request have come true. In this Lame-Duck session of congress, the percentage is likely to approach zero. But tonight’s address will be different, a victory lap of sorts for a relatively popular president and third in a succession of two-term occupiers of the Oval Office.

How will Obama seek to cement his legacy tonight? We’re likely to see references to past speeches, the President’s characteristic use of humor and his Ciceronian speech style. To give you a taste, we look back at the top 8 moments of Obama’s State of the Union Addresses, from 2015 all the way back to his first address in 2010. Obama’s speeches are a snapshot of his presidency and the historical events that have shaped the country’s political landscape over the past decade.


“I know because I won both of them.”

In this clip, Obama fails at bipartisanship, gloating about his reelection right before asking a Republican-controlled congress to work with him.


“I believe that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth.”

Obama’s speech takes advantage of a ready prop -- Speaker of the House John Boehner -- to make a point about social mobility.


“They deserve a vote.” (3m20s)

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings loomed large of this State of the Union Address as well, with Obama saying that victims of gun violence “deserve a vote” on a gun control bill. Families of victims are present at the speech. The measure did come to a vote, but was killed in the Senate.

“The time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Real reform means stronger border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest level in 40 years.”

Nicknamed the “Deporter-in-Chief” by immigration activists, this was the height of Obama’s tough-on-immigration policy. The idea was to meet Republican demands to secure the border in the hopes that they would support comprehensive immigration reform. The results were mixed: enough Republicans joined the effort that the bill would pass, but a majority inside the party opposed the measure and prevented it from reaching the floor.


“Last troops in Iraq,” and  “Crying over spilt milk.”

Running reelection, there’s some of Obama’s stump in this speech in this (“fair share”). There are also a few memorable lines, celebrating the withdrawal from Iraq, and a funny pun about reforming government regulations.


''Mindful of the empty chair''

Rep. Giffords was not in attendance that night, following gunshot wounds, including a bullet that injured her brain, following a shooting at a public address.


“I campaigned on promise of change. Change we can believe in, the slogan went [....] I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone.”

In his first address, Obama turned from idealism to pragmatism.

"Last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests."

He also highlighted the Citizen’s United case, which made it easier for individuals and corporations to donate money to political campaigns.