A handful of lawmakers apparently eager for President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night began reserving center aisle seats in the House chamber by the early afternoon.

Members are supposed to physically remain in their desired seats in order to reserve them. But many lawmakers use purses, coats or papers as placeholders. One member appeared to use a copy of The Hill's print edition to reserve a seat.

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The center aisle seats are the most desirable during the State of the Union because members can shake the president's hand as he makes his way to the podium on live national television. That often plays well for lawmakers back home in their districts, especially if the president is from their own party.

At least nine seats were taken by late afternoon. Most lawmakers milling around the House chamber were Democrats, including Reps. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeLewandowski: House testimony shows I'd be 'a fighter' in the Senate Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Democrats bicker over strategy on impeachment MORE (Texas), Elijah Cummings (Md.), Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHarris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge The Hill's Morning Report — DOJ's planned executions stir new debate Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (Ohio) and Karen BassKaren Ruth BassCBC marks 400th anniversary of slaves' arrival in US Senate could protect girls from sexual exploitation — but will it? King incites furor with abortion, rape and incest remarks MORE (Calif.).

One Republican secured a prized center aisle seat: Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.). 

Members are requested to be in their seats by 8:25 p.m., 35 minutes before the speech starts.