Obama speech draws 40.8 million viewers

Talk of troop increase in Afghanistan up 27% over last speech

Barack Obama drew more viewers by talking about foreign policy than health care.

The president's speech announcing a strategy for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was seen by 40.8 million viewers Tuesday night.

The ratings from Nielsen Media Research represent a 27% rise compared with the president's most recent primetime telecast regarding his health care plan back in September. The audience was also up 65% compared with Obama's speech in July -- also about health care.

Last night was Obama's largest viewership since networks covered his address on the economy last March.

During the president's speech from West Point, Obama detailed his plan to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan within the next 18 months.

Ten TV networks carried the speech -- ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, Telemundo, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.