After the Gabrielle Giffords shooting made everyone in D.C. drop the gun metaphors and play Kumbaya (see above) for about 10 minutes, an idea emerged for bipartisan seating at President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Seating for presidential addresses are typically as cliquey as your average high school cafeteria, with Republicans and Democrats taking separate sides (all the better for the ritualized one or both party standing ovations).
You may recall that Obama speeches to Congress have been acrimonious affairs -- no, I don't lie -- so perhaps mixed seating will make this one more civil. Or not. Here's the joint release from Pennsylvania's best buddies:
In the spirit of bipartisanship, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) announced today that they will sit together during the President’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 25. Democrats and Republicans have typically sat in different sections of the House chamber during the speech.
"The simple act of sitting together in a normally divided chamber will send an important signal that legislating shouldn't be about taking partisan sides," said Senator Casey. "Senator Toomey and I will sit together as public officials representing all the people of Pennsylvania. I look forward to working together and hope the bipartisan spirit will continue for all Members of Congress."
"I am proud to sit with my fellow colleague from Pennsylvania, Senator Bob Casey," Senator Toomey said. "There will be many opportunities for us to work together in the 112th Congress, and sitting next to each other is a small, but important step towards setting a civil and cooperative tone for the challenging work ahead of us."