For his maiden congressional address, Obama cleaned President Bush’s clock in terms of TV viewers willing to watch him speak to a bunch of stuffed congressional suits in the House chamber. Which isn’t saying much. But it is something for a new president to cling to, especially when you’re otherwise up against the sleuths of “NCIS.”
Obama got 52.4 million viewers last night (rounded off for those visiting the bathroom) in 37.2 million homes for a 49 share and 32.5 rating. In his last joint address in 2008 GWB got 37.5 million in 27.7 million homes for a 38 share and 24.7 rating. Bush did top Obama in 2003 with 62 million and a 56 share and we didn’t even have the Iraq reality show going then. (But it was coming.)
Bush’s first joint session appearance drew nearly 39.8 million and a 42 share.
However, Obama still lags the audience-drawing power of one President Bill Clinton. Sixteen years ago this week, when there were millions fewer Americans, Big Bill drew nearly 15 million more viewers — 66.9 million for his first congressional speech in 44.2 million homes for a 44.3 rating.