Which national issue do you think is most important to the #STL region? #SOTU
Rusty, you can watch the speech streamed at whitehouse.gov (or on television).
@Jim, alas, I'm no Chris Matthews. Seeing a president in action on SOTU night. whether he's a Republican or Democrat is exciting to those of us who are students of politics and American history.
The live broadcast portion of our coverage is about to begin - thanks for joining us! #SOTU #STL
For those of you who are only watching this chat, the Supreme Court and FLOTUS Michelle Obama have entered, and now the President's cabinet is entering, minus Energy Secretary Steven Chu (who's been designated to sit out, just as he sat out inauguration).
Green ribbons are for Newtown. Tucson ribbons are black and white.
@Hugh Graham. Yes, there are many new faces in the president's cabinet. In modern times, cabinets have tended to see significant changes when the president is re-elected. Running a federal agency can be a hugely demanding job and the sacrifices are great. These are all people who could be making much more money in the private sector. So you get a lot of churn typically between first and second terms.
@Dylan: It's a custom during SOTU for one member of the cabinet to sit out in the event disaster strikes while the government leaders are all in one place — the Capitol. Chu is the designated "successor." Here's from history from our friends at PBS: "In 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was told to miss the speech. The previous year, President Barack Obama chose Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the sixth interior secretary to be absent since 1984. And in 2010, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was requested to stay away from the Capitol, but since Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was also away attending a conference in London during the speech, she would have taken reins in the event of a disaster. The president's first designated survivor was Attorney General Eric H. Holder in 2009."
@Mario, just press play on the page you're participating on now. The audio did drop out briefly so it's possible you tuned in during that gap.
@RoadNinja, All members of Congress wear lapel pins on their suits to signal they are members, which helps them get through security around the capitol and helps them get recognized. Were you noticing Ryan wearing something different than a small flag pin?
President Obama has just been introduced.
The President is entering now. Members of Congress position themselves several hours in advance in order to get in a front spot along the aisle.
@James: The green ribbon is in memorial of the Newtown/Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.