And it's as though for decades they've been sitting in the same study circle, carouseling around the same answers or non-answers, because after Nixon said...
NIXON: The United States will not be department on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving.
DONVAN: ... then Ford said...
FORD: These proposals and actions can reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies.
DONVAN: ... then Carter said...
CARTER: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our nation's security.
DONVAN: ... and, at every stop, the same thing, as the spin has spun. OK, one more ride to show it's not just about oil. Ready? Reagan said... REAGAN: We must bring federal deficits down.
DONVAN: ... and Bush said...
GEORGE H.W BUSH: We must get the federal deficit under control.
DONVAN: ... another Bush said...
GEORGE W. BUSH: First, we must balance the federal budget.
DONVAN: And look who only last year said...
OBAMA: We do what it takes to bring this deficit down.
DONVAN: The challenge for him now is to say something new and to say it in a House that has just been handed to the party of his opponents. Traditionally, this is where presidents get all bipartisan all of a sudden in their State of the Union message.
Clinton in '95, when Republicans had just won the House in a landslide...
CLINTON: Now all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, must say we hear you. We will work together to earn the jobs you have given us.
DONVAN: Bush in 2007, when the landslide went the other way.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on, as long as we're willing to cross that aisle when there's work to be done.
DONVAN: Maybe, too, citizens don't care very much what is said in these speeches because the phrasings, the gestures, the theatrics are so very recycled, from naming the heroes in the high seats to the borrowings from scripture.
CLINTON: Reverend Robert Schuller suggested that I read Isaiah 58:12.
DONVAN: And if it's scripture that inspires, well, maybe we should take on this verse to temper expectations when he gets up there Tuesday night, Ecclesiastes 1:9, "There is nothing new under the sun." If he proves that one wrong, then it just might be one heck of a speech.
I'm John Donvan for "This Week."
AMANPOUR: And I'll be back with a special word on the passing of a statesman for peace and a warrior for the poor.
AMANPOUR: This week, the nation and the world bid farewell to a man President Obama called one of the brightest lights of the greatest generation. Sargent Shriver, the first head of the Peace Corps, died at 95 after a long battle with Alzheimer's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: His legacy is written in the villages around the world that have clean water or a new school through the Peace Corps...
SARGENT SHRIVER: We're making an effort to improve education and the health services and the housing of people who are suffering under poverty conditions.
MARIA SHRIVER: For me, as his only daughter, perhaps his greatest achievement was showing us in our family how to show up in other people's lives and how to love unconditionally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And the Pentagon released the names of 18 servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past two weeks.
That's our program for today. Thank you for watching. ABC will have special coverage of the president's State of the Union address Tuesday evening. See you then.