McConnell keeping his seat for State of UnionWASHINGTON (AP) — Don't look for the Senate's Republican leader to take a different seat during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Don't look for the Senate's Republican leader to take a different seat during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
Democrats and Republicans usually sit with fellow members of their parties during the annual speech in the House chamber.
But with calls for more civility in Congress and less partisanship after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting, some lawmakers are pledging to break with tradition during President Barack Obama's address this year.
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told “Fox News Sunday” that he will take a seat at the leadership table on the Republican side of the aisle, as usual
“If people want to mix it up, they certainly can. We don't have seating assignments for most of our members,” he said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he found “this whole thing is a good idea. I think it's been a bit overblown, but the fact is it's a good thing to do. Why not?” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He plans to sit with Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
He also offered one more suggestion: “It might be nice to cut back a little bit on all the jumping up and down” — meaning lawmakers should stay in their seats more rather than interrupt the speech with standing applause. McCain said that can detract from a speech that's intended mainly for the American people.
“I think there will be plenty of interruptions. And it doesn't matter where you sit, but it might be nice to have a few less.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, noted that in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee he leads, members sit without regard to party. “In other words,” he told ABC's “This Week,” ‘'we're not warring camps facing each other."
“This is symbolic, but it sends a good message. We've really got to do more of this.”
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who appeared with Lieberman and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said he had just asked to sit with Hutchison.
The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, said he would sit with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. “I'm bringing the popcorn. He's bringing a Coke with two straws,” he kidded.
For McConnell, the public is “more interested in actual accomplishments on a bipartisan basis here in the next six to nine months than they are with the seating arrangement at the State of the Union.”