Watching from home, the State of the Union looks so pretty and organized.
But who’s ready to see what this cluster looks like behind the scenes?
1. During the State of the Union the Capitol building becomes a warzone.
There is no larger annual gathering of important elected representatives all year. So don’t even try to cross this line.
2. There are TONS of police all over the Capitol.
Fancy policemen have the white gloves on.
3. And there are dogs and highly trained special response teams set up ALL OVER.
4. The hall right outside the House chamber is set up to be a media kill zone.
The members have to go in and out of this room, so every media company, camera and cord on the planet are set up here.
5. And above all their stations they have little signs.
These guys had a fake fireplace set up behind their media zone, which is nice.
6. Some members of congress wait AN ENTIRE DAY in the House Chamber just to get a good seat.
This is Rep. Eliot Engel. He sat in the House Chamber the whole day just to get a good seat. “I have been doing this since H.W. Bush,” he said. “People back at home like seeing you on TV.” According to Engel, about a dozen members do this.
Saving seats eight hours before the speech!
7. Less committed House members eat and drink at fancy receptions.
There are lots of these fancy receptions set up all over the Capitol because organizations know that this is the one night the members must stay late.
8. Over in the Senate, they throw their own FAMILY DINNER!
It is right adjacent to the Senate Chamber. The dinner smells really good, but people will yell at you if you take photos near it because senators, eating.
The only remnants left of the super secret dinner was this chocolatey bowl of ice cream left on a statue.
9. After having all their ice cream, all the senators gather in the doorway of the Senate…
… and Biden leads them all across the Capitol, over to the House Chamber!
They walk right through the media kill zone and here is what that looks like.
10. The people that take care of all the guests for the speech wear adorable little red coats.
11. Once the president enters, some members of Congress, WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER, took photos with iPads.
Recall election NOW.
14. The FREAKING podium behind Obama is magical.
16. After the speech everyone is just free to wander around the Capitol.
BUT BE CAREFUL going through the media kill zone. It is hella insane.
How this works is members just wander through and exhausted reporters, who have been sitting in chairs like this all day, ask them questions.
And then members tell you something boring that you can’t use.