- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - Is “strong” losing its strength?

Presidents of both parties have long felt compelled to sum up the state of the union with a descriptive word or two in their State of the Union addresses. Mostly the same word.

For many years now, “strong” has been the go-to adjective.

Here’s President Barack Obama last year: “Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of the Union is stronger.”

In the earlier years, he went with “getting stronger” or just plain “strong.”

George W. Bush liked the one-two punch of “confident and strong.”

His president-dad, George H.W. Bush, paired up “sound and strong” in 1990.

Bill Clinton in 2000 promoted the union to “the strongest it has ever been.”

It wasn’t always this way.

Dwight Eisenhower skipped the quick sum-up. With the nation in recession and millions out of work in 1975, Gerald Ford dared suggest all was not well.

A look at how some presidents past have defined the state of the union:

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CALVIN COOLIDGE, 1925: “In meeting the constitutional requirement of informing the Congress upon the state of the Union, it is exceedingly gratifying to report that the general condition is one of progress and prosperity.”

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, 1943: “The state of this nation is good; the heart of this nation is sound; the spirit of this nation is strong; the faith of this nation is eternal.”

HARRY TRUMAN, 1949: “I am happy to report to this 81st Congress that the state of the union is good.”

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