News/Lawmaker News

Dems Maneuver for Prime Seats at Speech

The lawmakers who stake out primo seats on the aisle for the president’s speech are a well known bunch. There’s Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio).

But three other Democrats made a risky move on the front row that paid off.

During the series of votes earlier in the day, Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) and Steve Cohen staked out three front row seats in territory usually reserved for senators. They wrote their names on sheets of paper and taped them to the back of the front row chairs.

This is prime real estate. The seats are to the right of the dais, where Obama is sure to pass with the cameras on him.

Observing the situation from the Speakers Lobby, Jackson predicted that their hand-scrawled placards would be taken down but staffers preserving senatorial privileges. But Jackson-Lee disagreed, saying “members have sat in those seats before.”

A staffer said that it depended on whether there would be enough seats for senators without them.

The gamble appears to have paid off. Just before the House chamber was shut down for the Secret Service sweep, the House members’ signs were still taped to the back of the chairs. Signs reserved seats for senators behind the trio.

– Mike Soraghan

Tags Jesse Jackson Politics United States

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