February 24th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Holder not attending Obama speech

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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder will be the cabinet member not attending President Obama’s speech tonight to Congress in the House chamber for security reasons, a Justice Department official tells CNN.

The official said Holder will be staying at an undisclosed location.

By tradition, one cabinet member does not attend such speeches in case of disaster, since so many other government leaders are vulnerable in one place. Customarily, the absent official is a member of the national security team.

So which member of former President Bush’s cabinet stayed away from his final “State of the Union” last year?

Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, did not attend the president’s speech in 2008. The previous year, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stayed away.

Other former cabinet officials to miss the annual speech:

2006: Jim Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

2005: Don Evans, Secretary of Commerce

2004: Don Evans, Secretary of Commerce

2003: John Ashcroft, Attorney General

(Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta also did not attend, due to health problems)

2002: Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior

2001: Anthony J. Principi, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

2000: Bill Richardson, Secretary of Energy

1999: Andrew Cuomo, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

1998: William Daley, Secretary of Commerce

Filed under: Eric Holder • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Voter

    Bad choice. Holder is anything but a disinterested party. Oh, well, he'll save "the worthy Americans" and leave everyone else to die.

    February 24, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. legare

    As Long as it was not Cheney

    February 24, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. HelloooOOOOO

    Seems like Biden " should not be there, just "in case" anything should go wrong, which heaven forbid...

    February 24, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. sandi

    Now there is a person....that should be the only one left behind...frightening, I am unimpressed by Holder. Kick em while they are down Eric.

    February 24, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Holder should stay in that location for the next 4 years.

    While there he is working on ways to disarm americans of their guns(That's a fact), so beware if you own guns.

    February 24, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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