Seat savers stake out aisle spots for State of the Union
January 24th, 2012
02:53 PM ET
2 years ago

Seat savers stake out aisle spots for State of the Union

Capitol Hill (CNN) – As Congress prepares for President Barack Obama's State of the Union, the hottest seats of the night in the House chamber - other than those in the first lady or the speaker’s boxes - are the coveted seats along the center aisle where members can personally greet the president when he walks in, and, of course, be seen by a national television audience.

Members who arrived early to grab one of only a handful of those prime aisle seats know the drill – they were the same ones who could be spotted on TV at last year's State of the Union: New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (sporting bright green to allow easy spotting by the cameras), Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Ohio Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt.

Two House officials said members arrived in the chamber as early as 8 a.m. ET, even though Tuesday's House session didn’t start until 10 a.m. and the president’s speech isn’t until 9 p.m.

Officially House chamber officials don't allow seat saving for the State of the Union address, and will remove any placards members try attaching to seats to grab a spot. But if members camp out in an aisle seat, using it as a workspace for the day, they are usually able to hold onto it for the presidential address. As television crews position cameras and test lights around the room throughout the day, the temperature inside the chamber is kept quite chilly, so it’s not unusual to see a seat-saver wearing a warm coat.


Filed under: Congress • State of the Union
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    The GOP will be handing out orange and white wigs and "John 3:16" t-shirts for their clown show appearances as they wave and mug for the camera

    January 24, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Any a chance to get on tv or shake a president's hand... Wow is all I have to say. I can understand that though if I were in Congress. It would be something to put on a website.

    January 24, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. wt bitzer

    Just like Black Friday at Walmart. Same intellect

    January 24, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Greg Veazey

    3 out of 4 listed in the article are Democrats, and since the Dems control the House, it's no wonder they get nothing done! When a member of the House has nothing better to do than "camp out" IPhone- style for their seat so they can be seen on TV and shake the preseident's hand! Really, are their constituents that shallow – don't answer that! Waiting for the show!

    January 24, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Greg Veazey

    Oops! Meant to say "controlled" as the Dems did from 2008 – 10.

    January 24, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Greg Veazey

    3 out of 4 listed in the article are Democrats, and since the Dems control the House, it's no wonder they get nothing done!
    ------------
    And the GOTP controlled House has accomplished what? They have garnered the lowest approval rating in history. They were at the helm when the US credit rating was downgraded. They almost shutdown the government 3 times in one year. They enacted legislation that has cut thousands and thousands middle class public sector jobs. They have fought tooth and nail against a middle class tax cut. What else?

    January 24, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |