Senate votes force Vitter to skip football party, attend Obama speech

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) might be attending President Obama's job speech after all. Vitter, who had previously said that he would be skipping the speech to attend a party to watch the New Orleans Saints' kickoff game, tweeted Thursday morning that Senate scheduling might force him to attend.

"Typical Harry Reid. He's now schdld votes that should’ve been this morn 4 right b4 & right AFTER prez's speech. Pens me in 2 have 2 stay. Reid ensured I'll miss my Saints party at home. Don't worry--only strengthens my Who Dat resolve. On 2 the Super Bowl! #ReidDirtyBirdsFan?" tweeted Vitter.

"Who dat" is a New Orleans idiom that has become a chant of support for the Saints. The "Dirty Bird" was a dance popularized by rival Atlanta Falcons fans in the 1990s. 

Vitter had previously tweeted about skipping the speech: "Will listen to President's speech carefully ... from my priority area for job creation, Who Dat nation. Family and friends coming over for Saints game tomorrow. On to recovery--and super bowl!" 

The vote before the speech is on the House-passes America Invents Act, a patent reform bill changing the U.S. from a first-to-invent to a first-inventor-to-file system. 

After the speech comes the largely symbolic but contentious vote of disapproval on Obama’s authority to raise the debt ceiling by another $500 billion in accordance with the summer’s debt ceiling deal.

Even if Vitter attends the address, President Obama will not be speaking to a full chamber, with some Republicans sitting out the event in protest. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) will be watching the address from his office across the street, enabling him to host a live Twitter town hall. Broun did the same thing during Obama's State of the Union address in January, and made headlines when he tweeted that President Obama didn't "believe in the Constitution."

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) announced last week that he wouldn't show up, and instead would host a town hall in his home district with 50 small business owners. 

"Instead of being a prop of another one of the President's speeches, next Thursday I will fly home to IL to talk to real job creators," Walsh tweeted.

He reiterated that he viewed the address as political spectacle during an interview on MSNBC.

"Every time someone skins his knee he holds a speech," Walsh said. "All he does is give speeches, I'm tired of speeches."

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is also unlikely to attend, telling ABC News that he "probably" would would skip the speech out of frustration with the president.

"If he sent a written proposal over first, I would go hear him explain it, but frankly right now I'm so frustrated I don't think I'm going to go," DeMint said. "I can't imagine too many Americans wanting to hear another speech with no real plan attached."

Yahoo News is reporting that there is also a chance Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) won't be in attendance. Rubio's mother has fallen ill after recently suffering a series of debilitating strokes, and the senator's office said that as a result, his schedule was "fluid" this week.