Odd Couples & Aisle Hogs at State of the Union

Congress makes history with bipartisan display
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2011 12:38 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2011 6:11 AM CST

(Newser) – The century-old tradition of partisan seating at the State of the Union address crumbled last night as Republicans and Democrats paired off. After days of matchmaking that resembled a pre-prom frenzy, Republican-Democrat pairings included Jim DeMint and Tom Udall, Charles Schumer and Tom Coburn, and John Thune and Kirsten Gillibrand, the Wall Street Journal reports. A seat among Arizona's delegation was kept empty in tribute to Gabrielle Giffords.

Ahead of the address, Salon pored over hours of footage from the last ten State of the Union addresses to identify the biggest "aisle hogs." The top five lawmakers who always seemed to snag the best seat in which to be be spotted on TV greeting the president were all Democrats. Four of the five top aisle hogs of years past—Dennis Kucinich, Dale Kildee, Sheila Jackson Lee and Eliot Engel—also managed to stake out prime aisle seats last night, although Jesse Jackson Jr. appeared to be absent from the aisle. Click for more on the "aisle hogs."

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