'Aisle Hogs' Camp Out Hours for SOTU Seats
It's a rare opportunity to shake hands, talk to the president
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2013 10:33 AM CST
In this Jan. 24, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – As you read this, there are already lawmakers sitting in the House chamber, just waiting for President Obama to arrive for his State of the Union address tonight. The aisle seats in the chamber have become hot commodities in recent years, with less-well-known legislators clamoring for a rare chance to, literally, reach out and touch the president—and be on TV, the Washington Post reports. The aisle seats are so sought-after, in fact, that House leaders have laid down some ground rules: For one thing, you have to actually be sitting in a seat in order to reserve it, meaning that your elected members of Congress wait about 10 to 12 hours, one congressman estimates, for just a few seconds with the president as he walks down the aisle. They're known as "aisle hogs," the New York Daily News notes.

So what do they say to the president during those all-important few moments? Some, like Rep. GK Butterfield, keep it simple: "I said, 'Don't forget us in North Carolina!' ... And he would say, 'How could I?'" Others, like Rep. Eliot Engel (who's been hogging the aisle since 1989), have a specific topic in mind: "Stand by Israel, now," he used to tell George W. Bush. And staunchly anti-war Dennis Kucinich may have been a critic of Bush, but when he walked by during the Iraq war, Kucinich used his few seconds to tell the president, "I wish you peace." What's the payoff? A bit of recognition back home, explains former rep and longtime aisle sitter Dale Kildee. "People would say, 'Gosh, I saw you shaking hands with the president.' So you had that advantage." (Click to see some of the notable guests at this year's address.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
'Aisle Hogs' Camp Out Hours for SOTU Seats is...
19%
5%
1%
1%
1%
72%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 7 comments
ApolitickalExtremist
Feb 12, 2013 2:57 PM CST
Brown nosing, spineless little turds.
CarlM
Feb 12, 2013 12:03 PM CST
You'd think that the President was handing out iPhones or something. :)
lostmtnman
Feb 12, 2013 11:47 AM CST
Typical government worker, sitting on their buttocks, doing nothing waiting for something to happen. Wonder how many are GOP?