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Classic Movie and TV Presidents Give Biden Advice for His State of the Union Address

After playing two-term fictional POTUS Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant III on the hit ABC series Scandal, Tony Goldwyn told President Biden that he has one tip to share ahead of Thursday’s 2024 State of the Unionaddress.

“There was one piece of advice that meant a lot to me when I was president,” said Goldwyn of his years on a White House set when the series ran from 2012-2018. He then pulled out a performance from his days on the Kerry Washington series: “Tell them that you exist for them. Tell them that they make you a better man.”

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Goldwyn was joined by four other beloved Hollywood presidents to give Biden advice for the national address, which arrived in video form and was shared by the U.S. president on social media (below).

Morgan Freeman (Deep Impact), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief), Michael Douglas (The American President) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day) all Zoomed in to speak with Biden and share their advice, which ranged from joking (“All I had to deal with was a meteor,” said Freeman) to serious, as evidenced by Goldwyn’s lines.

Freeman also spoke about hope being the most effective tool (“Just keep telling us how you are working for us and building hope,” he said), while Davis talked about the ongoing crises she had to face while in the fictional role.

“I do feel I should just point out one thing that always bears remembering: There’s no crying in politics,” said the League of Their Own actress.

“Well, what I hope is my politics doesn’t make anyone else cry,” Biden replied with a laugh.

Douglas cited a loving partner as the best support for a leader (“don’t forget to save a dance for the First Lady in the East Room,” he added) and Pullman said he was happy to watch someone else have to read all the lines for such a pivotal event.

“In Independence Day, I had it easy, we just had invaders from outer space coming into mess with us, and that tends to unify people,” said Pullman. But in his speech from that film, he says he managed to say two things: “We can’t be consumed by our petty differences and we will be united in our common interests, and somehow these words became something to remember. So I had the thought, Mr. President, when people look at all you’ve managed to do, they’re going to remember, time will remember always, the importance of your words when you say that thing about there’s nothing that we can’t do when we do it together. Those are good ones.”

Goldwyn also encouraged Biden to wind down after the speech with a big bowl of ice cream.

Biden ended the video by noting he had never spoken to so many presidents all at one time and thanked them by inviting them to the White House to meet him in person.

“You may’ve heard I’ve got a big speech coming up. So, I thought I would hear from some folks who have done the job before – sort of,” wrote Biden on X when sharing the video.

Biden will deliver the annual address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET. For the president’s election-year speech — his third, which comes in the final year of his first term — the moment will serve as a kickoff for his re-election effort, which is shaping up to be another match-up between him and his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

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