By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
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(CNN) – Legions of journalists, dignitaries and self-defined VIPs will file into the Capitol tonight to watch an annual rite of democracy that is a show of power and priorities.
But, does the carefully choreographed State of the Union address affect policy after the hour-long speech ends? How much does it really matter?
[:20] James Klumpp, professor of communications and expert on presidential speeches, University of Maryland says “the State of the Union has a pretty bad reputation among those of us who study speeches, largely because so many of them end up being laundry lists of programs.”
Critics point out that the speech is often propelled by the work of dozens of agencies and programs, each lobbying the White House to include a mention of their work. However, those who have contributed to the State of the Union also insist that those litanies to the bureaucracy often can make an idea reality.
[2:07] “It is a wish list, but [the president] gets a lot of his wishes granted. It’s not like you put your tooth under the pillow, hoping for the tooth fairy,” says Bob Lehrman, longtime and former WH speechwriter, American University professor.