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The most memorable memes from Obama's SOTU addresses

As Obama readies to give his final State of the Union, take a look back at the quips and gaffes that have become Internet lore.
President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill on Jan. 28, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Larry Downing/Pool/Getty)
President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill on Jan. 28, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

President Obama is set to deliver his final State of the Union address tonight at 9 p.m., and he promises the speech “will be for you.”

While the address typically features the president highlighting his achievements and outlining goals for the next year, some lighter moments of President Obama's past seven SOTU addresses rapidly became trending topics on social media. From Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz’s hair to Sen. Marco Rubio’s water bottle gaffe, the Internet has shown no mercy at times when it comes to memes from the State of the Union, making us gifts (or GIFts?) that will live on the Web forever.

So before you get your “Thanks, Obama” jokes ready for one of the last times, let’s revisit some of the best moments from Obama’s prior State of the Union addresses.

1. That time we met Ernest Moniz – and his hair

Great hair or greatest hair? We discovered the Secretary of Energy’s perfectly coiffed mane in January 2015 after a TV shot panned to him in the SOTU audience. Twitter immediately went crazy over Moniz, comparing him to a Founding Father, Beethoven, the guy on the Quaker Oats box, and Mad-Eye Moody from “Harry Potter.”

2. #DadJokes

Obama can’t resist throwing in a good ol’ dad joke every now and then, even during the SOTU.

He was making them way back in 2011:

“Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail. This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying, without the pat-down.”

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater," he said. Then the kicker: "I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

::shakes head::

And in 2012:

“We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill -- because milk was somehow classified as an oil.  With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.”

Cue Sasha’s and Malia’s eye rolls.

And again in 2014:

“In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here today with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it."


3. Mic drop

Near the end of his speech last year, Obama said, “I have no more campaigns to run,” which prompted some Republicans to respond with applause.

Without a hitch, Obama retorted: “I know, because I won both of them.”

It became the most-talked about moment of the address, according to Facebook data.

4. RBG takes a catnap

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was caught nodding off during the 2015 SOTU. She later revealed that she was “not 100% sober” during the speech.

She could’ve just said she was taking a good look at her favorite fishnet gloves, which also caused a bit of a fashion alert.

5. The odd couple

Since Rep. Paul Ryan was elected Speaker of the House in October, we’ll no longer get to watch Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner make faces behind President Obama.

Whether Biden was hamming it up with a point and smile, or Boehner was called out on Twitter for looking like Grumpy Cat, we could always depend on them to provide a perfectly mismatched backdrop to the address.

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6. The thirst is real

When Sen. Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union in 2013, we didn’t expect that it would literally become “#Watergate” when he stopped to grab his water bottle and take a swig.

7. #BreadBags

Sen. Joni Ernst gave the GOP rebuttal in January 2015, and she brought up her childhood upbringing in her speech, focusing on how her family lived simply. But after she said she only had one good pair of shoes and “on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry," Twitter pounced. 

Ernst also sported camouflage heels during the actual SOTU address. 

8. “You lie!”

Technically, this next moment took place during a 2009 joint session of Congress that was a State of the Union address in “everything but the name.” (We think it still counts for this list.) Rep. Joe Wilson interrupted Obama as he was talking about health care reform and illegal immigrants, shouting: “You lie!”

Obama immediately stopped and responded, “That’s not true.”

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Wilson later apologized for his outburst, and Obama accepted it, saying "We all make mistakes."

9. Alito mouths off

Way back in 2010’s State of the Union address, President Obama targeted the Supreme Court for its decision on campaign financing, which he said would “open the floodgates for special interests … to spend without limit in our elections.”  Amid the black-robed justices in the front row, Justice Samuel Alito was caught mouthing the words "not true.”