12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Sights and sounds from a rowdy State of the Union

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.* 

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically. 


Forget WrestleMania. Give me a hotdog, a beer and live footage of the House floor

President Biden delivered his State of the Union address to a raucous chamber filled with loud cheers from Democrats, jeering and heckling from Republicansoff-script comments and emotional moments. 

For example — MTG heckled Biden: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) stood up and yelled “liar” when Biden said the GOP wants to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare. Watch the footage

This photo of Greene has become an informal internet caption contest. 

This line has gotten a lot of traction: Biden turned to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and said, “Mr. Speaker I don’t want to ruin your reputation but I look forward to working with you.” It got quite the laugh from the chamber — watch


Wow, this reaction from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is noteworthy: Right after the address, Blitzer said on-air, “I think this was the best speech I have ever heard him deliver.” Watch Blitzer’s full quote and reasoning

Five things Biden didn’t talk about 

The five biggest moments of the address 

The big takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union 

The New York Times fact-checked Biden’s speech: The gist: “The president’s speech contained no outright falsehoods, but at times omitted crucial context or exaggerated the facts.” NYT fact-checker 

Happy Wednesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here. 

📸 The best of SOTU — obviously the sights and sounds:

Cameras captured a tense exchange on the House floor between Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who is under fire for fabricating parts of his resume, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). 

Watch the footage: What do you think they are each saying? 

From another lawmaker who witnessed the back and forth: CNN’s Melanie Zanona tweeted, “I’m told Sen. Mitt Romney said to [Rep. George Santos]: ‘You don’t belong here,’ according to a member who witnessed the tense exchange.”  

Santos’s side of the story: Semafor’s Kadia Goba tweeted, “Rep. George Santos describes, to me, his exchange with Sen. Mitt Romney during the State of the Union tonight:

Mitt: You don’t belong here. 

Santos: Go tell that to the 142K that voted for me. 

Mitt: You’re an a**. 

Santos: You’re a much bigger a**h***.”

Romney talked to reporters after the speech — said Santos is a ‘sick puppy’: “I don’t know the exact words I said. He shouldn’t have been there. Look, he’s a sick puppy. He shouldn’t have been there … I don’t think he ought to be in Congress, and he certainly shouldn’t be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the president of the United States and dignitaries coming in. It’s an embarrassment.”  


Watch the Bidens leave the White House: Video from NBC News’s Kelly O’Donnell 

The wheels on the Beast are *enormous*: Photo of Biden’s vehicle parked outside the White House, via Reuters’ Nandita Bose 

The Biden parade, errr— motorcade, driving to the CapitolVideo from CBS News’s Ed O’Keefe 


Sen. John Fetterman’s (D-Pa.) height is unmatched: The Bulwark’s Joe Perticone pointed out: “John Fetterman is in the chamber [and] is still taller than members standing in the elevated rows lol.”  

^ That will surely help with this game: Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, tweeted: “Currently playing ‘find daddy’ with the kids. #SOTU” 

Well, look who come to the House side — did ya have any trouble finding the place?: Photo of senators arriving on the House floor for Biden’s address, via HuffPost’s Igor Bobic 

So. Many. Cameras.: Check out the media setup in Statuary Hall last night, via NBC’s Scott Wong 

Wow, what a cool angle: Statuary Hall looked beautiful. Photo from E&E News’s Emma Dumain 

The Capitol Hill red carpet, if you will: Here’s a photo of reporters lined up at the entrance, via NBC’s Sahil Kapur 

View from outside the CapitolSo many black cars 

Casual photo of Paul Pelosi and Bono chatting: That’s former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband. I wonder what they were discussing. 

Mahty’s the designated suvivah: Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who is expected to step down from his job to work as the head of the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA),was chosen as the member of the Cabinet to sit out from the address in the case of a catastrophe. The Cabinet took a selfie 

*Cue my deep announcer voice* — representing your judicial branch this evening: Here’s a list of the current and former Supreme Court justices who attended. 

Lol, they make a good point: Punchbowl News’s John Bresnahan tweeted: “Overheard in gallery when [first lady Jill Biden] enters the House chamber: ‘Why isn’t she wearing green for the Eagles? Seriously.’”  

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wore a mask to the address 

Just your average, rank-and-file House DemocratHere’s a photo of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) standing in the chamber with the rest of her caucus.

Just a couple of simpatico besties: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) got a handshake from President Biden as the president entered the chamber. 

But Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who had a spot in the aisle right by Biden, did not: The Daily Beast’s Matt Fuller described the situation as: “Biden tactfully evades a George Santos interaction. Didn’t feel like Santos’s heart was in it. He could have made it happen.”

Lol!!: HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery tweeted, “Few things in life you can count on, but one of them is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) holding onto her spot on the aisle for the State of the Union. She’s had this seat on lockdown for decades.” Photo 

Tidbit from when Biden said he wants to work with Republicans: PBS News’s Lisa Desjardins tweeted, “[For what it’s worth,] I counted less than 20 Republicans who stood for Biden’s line saying he wants to work with Republicans.”  

🦠 The COVID-19 numbers 

Cases to date: 102.4 million 

Death toll: 1,106,824 

Current hospitalizations: 20,514 

Shots administered: 669 million 

Fully vaccinated: 69.2 percent of Americans 

CDC data here. 

🐥Notable tweets 

Give us the tea — how is the designated survivor chosen?

Chris Lu, who worked in the Obama administration, tweeted: “A lot of chatter on here about tonight’s #DesignatedSurvivor. As White House Cabinet Secretary from 2009-13, I helped select who sat out 7 Obama speeches (#SOTU, joint addresses, inaugurations). Here are some of the factors that went into the decision:”  

For example: “If there’s going to be an extended discussion of an issue, you want the relevant Cabinet member at the speech. Because healthcare was a prominent topic in Obama’s speeches, we didn’t use the HHS secretary as the #DesignatedSurvivor.”  

Read the full thread of factors considered in choosing which Cabinet secretary would sit out 

It is a mad house outside George Santos’s office

CBS News’s Scott MacFarlane tweeted a video of Rep. George Santos’s (R-N.Y.) constituents outside his D.C. office. Watch 

On tap

The House is in. The Senate is out. President Biden is in Wisconsin. Vice President Harris is in Georgia.

  • 9 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing. 
  • 9:15 a.m.: Harris left for Georgia. 
  • 9:55 a.m.: Biden left for Wisconsin. 
  • 4 p.m.: First and last House votes. Today’s House agenda 
  • 5:55 p.m.: Harris returns to Washington, D.C. 
  • 8:05 p.m.: Biden returns to the White House. 
  • Thursday: The Senate meets next. Tomorrow’s Senate agenda

All times Eastern. 

📺What to watch 

  • 11:30 a.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One. Listen 
  • 2 p.m.: Biden discusses his economic plan during remarks in DeForest, Wis. Livestream 
  • 2:10 p.m.: Harris delivers remarks on the climate crisis. Livestream 

🍕 In lighter news 

Today is National Molasses Bar Day. But more importantly, tomorrow is National Pizza Day!  

Because I would never leave you hangingHere’s where to get free pizza and pizza discounts tomorrow, via CNET. 

And to pull you away from your work for just a few more seconds, meet the absolute dream team.

Tags 12:30 Report Biden Biden George Santos Marty Walsh Mitt Romney Romney Santos SOTU State of the Union State of the Union reaction

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