When President Barack Obama stands before Congress on Tuesday night, there will be little hint of the cram-it-in, squeeze-it-out dynamic that went into the making of his State of the Union address.
In the days and weeks before every State of the Union, plenty of Cabinet members and policy advocates find reasons to stop by the speechwriting team's modest outpost in the White House basement. They're hoping for that all-important mention in the biggest presidential speech of the year.
White House veterans say no one wants to be left out. And that's why the State of the Union is the address that many presidential speechwriters love to hate.
A George W. Bush speechwriter once called this final stretch before the speech the "seven-day death march."