Bush Speech a Ratings Winner

From a Times Staff Writer

President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday was watched by an estimated 51.8 million viewers, representing the annual speech's largest audience in four years.

Tune-in ratings on eight broadcast and cable networks surged 30% compared with last year's address, based on data from Nielsen Media Research.

No address has approached that level since 1998, when more than 53 million people were estimated to have viewed President Clinton's speech, which occurred amid widespread speculation regarding his relationship with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.

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