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The SOTU: What you need to know

From NBC's Kelly O'Donnell
LENGTH: Advisers say the president's speech is running about 40 minutes.  They also estimate that his walk to the podium takes 12 minutes, so with interruptions/applause and the speech itself, advisors guess at roughly an hour.

BRIEFING: Senior advisers will provide reporters with an on-the-record briefing which will be embargoed and reportable at speech time.

EXCERPTS: Excerpts of the president's address will be released at about 5:00 pm ET, with fact sheets early in the afternoon.

REHEARSALS: The president has continued to rehearse in the family theater at the White House.  The speech has been revised more than 30 times, but every word change generates a new draft.  Advisers say Bush has been involved in editing personally since very early drafts.  About a half-dozen speechwriters have been working the text.

MAIN TOPICS: Advisers describe the address as centered on a "handful" of issues, as opposed to the usual, so-called laundry list of proposals.  Advisers also say there's a focus on areas where the White House suggest both parties can work together.  The topics will include Iraq, the greater war on terror, health care, energy, education, and immigration.