Next Tuesday the President will give his State of the Union address. The Republicans will give their response to the address and the news networks will speculate about Marco Rubio's presidential chances.
It would behoove the networks to stop looking at the response speech as some sort of stepping stone to the presidency. Out of the 61 Democrats to give a response to a Republican SOTU address only 1 has gone on to be president: Bill Clinton. Out of the 30 Republicans to give a response to a Democratic SOTU address only 2 have gone on to be president: Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.
That's 3.2%. 3 out of 91.
5 of the response givers have been Vice President: Hubert Humphrey*, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, & Joe Biden. *Humphrey was VP from 1965-1969 and gave a SOTU response in 1975. Usually SOTU responses are given before candidates try to make the leap up to president.
Several have run for president: Howard Baker, Lloyd Bentsen, Joe Biden, Bill Bradley, Robert Byrd, Alan Cranston, Frank Church, Robert Dole, Al Gore, Bob Graham, Tom Harkin, Gary Hart, Hubert Humphrey, Henry Jackson, Edward Kennedy, Patsy Mink, Edmund Muskie, Paul Simon, and Paul Tsongas.
Person to give the most Democratic responses: Robert Byrd with 5 (1982, '83, '84, '87, & '88). Tip O'Neill is second with 4 (1982, '83, '84, & '85).
Person to give the most Republican responses: trick question, it's a 3-way tie, with 3 men each giving 3 responses. Gerald Ford (1966, '67, & '68), Howard Baker (1968, '78, & '79), and John Rhodes (1978, '79, & '80).