Ideas for Obama's 'non-traditional' State of the Union address

State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds
State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds

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State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds 01:09

(CNN)He's a lame duck president entering his final year in office. The race to replace him is in full swing, and when he gives his State of the Union address, the first caucuses and primaries of 2016 will be right around the corner.

But that doesn't mean Barack Obama is going to leave the limelight quietly.
The White House last month insisted Obama would give his final State of the Union address in a "non-traditional" way.
Non-traditional in what he'll say? How he'll deliver it? We can only wait and see. In what was described as a trailer for the speech, he said his team is "cooking up new ways to watch and interact." From a policy perspective, we know he has designs on policy statements about the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He has already issued new executive actions on guns.
    In the meantime, we're left to wonder what "non-traditional" will mean. Last year, the White House advertised a non-traditional State of the Union address that ended up being leaked policy proposals and a speech published on a website beforehand.
    So here are some good-natured suggestions on how to go much further:

    #1 -- Don't give a speech

    The Constitution does mandate in Article 2, Section 3 that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union." But there's nothing in there about a formal speech and the annual display of partisan standing ovations, applause counts, distracted Supreme Court Justices, pleas to "my fellow Americans" and promises that the state of the union is strong.
    All that has sprung up since Franklin D. Roosevelt started traveling up Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1930s. Before that, most presidents just sent up a written report.
    Recently, the affair has started to feel a little rote, as we found last year when CNN producer Brenna Williams put 68 years of the speeches into one short video clip.
    Memorable State of the Union speeches
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      Memorable State of the Union speeches

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    Memorable State of the Union speeches 01:34

    #2 -- Bring back the anger translator

    President Obama used a comedian to great effect at last year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner. It was a joke, but you couldn't help thinking what the anger translator was saying was close to what really must be on the President's mind.
    Obama uses 'anger translator' at correspondents' dinner
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    Obama uses 'anger translator' at correspondents' dinner 04:47

    #3 - Have Barack Obama sit in balcony and let Michelle deliver the address

    She's generally much more popular and way cooler than he is.
    First lady Michelle Obama raps about college
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    First lady Michelle Obama raps about college 00:49

    #4 - Make it really short

    Richard Nixon kept most of his to around a half hour, according to data from The Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara. By the time Bill Clinton came around, the average had ballooned up to an hour -- and Clinton's all went much longer than that. Obama has only given one speech that lasted less than an hour.
    State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds
    State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds

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      State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds

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    State of the Union: 68 years in 68 seconds 01:09

    #5 Drop the mic

    These speeches have increasingly become kitchen sinks for grand promises for bold initiatives that never get off the ground. Remember when Obama challenged a Republican Congress to pass his expensive community college initiative? It was never going to happen. A non-traditional State of the Union address would be devoid of partisan wrangling. That's about as likely as the return of the anger translator. But you can imagine a president on his way out the door facing a hostile Congress -- if he wants to leave a mark on his last year -- will have to do things on his own.

    Here are some even less serious ideas that would certainly get people talking:

    Present the speech in beat poetry

    Employ a Powerpoint display (President Romney would totally have done this)

    Incorporate mime

    Creating magic with physical theater
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    Creating magic with physical theater 06:05

    Deliver it entirely in allegory and proverb

    Conduct it Jeopardy-style (all points made in the form of a series of questions)

    CNN anchor wins big at 'Celebrity Jeopardy'
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    ‎Belt it out Evita-style (sing every word; he can sing)

    Watch Obama sing with Willie Nelson
    Watch Obama sing with Willie Nelson

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    Hire Kevin Spacey to deliver it as Frank Underwood

    President Underwood appears during GOP debate
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