New Seating Arrangement During President’s State of the Union Address
Republicans and Democrats crossed party lines and sat side by side as they listen to the State of the Union Address delivered by President Obama in Congress. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona sat on the Democratic side of the House aisle, between Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell didn’t want to be part of the bipartisan practice and sat beside other Republicans Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
While President Obama was delivering his speech, two Texas representatives spent the entire time on their feet. They are Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Henry Cuellar. They rest of the members of congress didn’t seem to know how to behave. When President Obama said something that would normally make the Democrats stand up, some did while some remained on their seats. Some Republicans took their cue from them.
They might be sitting together but partisanship is still practiced during the speech. When President Obama mentioned cutting subsidies to the oil companies, Democrat Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York gave a standing ovation while a Republican heckled softly in the back of the room.
The odd seating arrangement was proposed by the centrist group Third Way as method to go beyond partisanship. Hours before the speech, Democrats and Republicans are looking for seatmates. It is observed that this year’s State of the Union Address has less pomp and less partisan commotion.