Gabby Giffords Leads Parade of State of Union Guests

Tony Bennett, 102-Year-Old and Ted Nugent Will Attend Speech

getty images

By Reuters

Published February 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

President Barack Obama will not be the only one delivering a message during the State of the Union address on Tuesday. Members of Congress along with the White House will also be making symbolic statements with the guests they invite to attend the annual speech.

Invited guests this year reflect the pressing issues facing Congress and Obama, who is expected to focus on the economy as well as immigration and gun control.

While some will sit in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Representatives overlooking members of Congress, other guests will join First Lady Michelle Obama in another area.

Here are some of those expected to attend:

GUN VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Obama’s fellow Democrats in Congress are bringing victims of gun violence to offer faces and voices in their effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws.

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, who recently launched their own group aimed at reforming gun laws, will attend as guests of Arizona lawmakers Senator John McCain, a Republican, and Representative Ron Barber, a Democrat. Brady Campaign President Dan Gross will also attend with his brother Matt, whose was wounded in a 1997 shooting.

Others include a fourth-grade student from Newtown who become a gun control advocate in the wake of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary that killed 20 students and 6 educators, as well as Natalie Hammond, a Sandy Hook teacher who was shot in the attack.

Michelle Obama will be joined by the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager slain by gun fire in a park near her high school days after performing at the president’s inauguration last month. She also invited Kaitlin Roig, another Sandy Hook teacher.

ROCKER TED NUGENT

Representative Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, said rock musician and pro-gun activist Ted Nugent will be his guest. U.S. Secret Service agents last year interviewed Nugent, a board member for the National Rifle Association, for comments he made about Obama during the presidential campaign.

“I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama,” Stockman wrote in a statement. “After the address I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say.”

APPLE CEO TIM COOK

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook will attend the speech as a guest of the first lady, who last year also showcased technology leaders. In 2012, she invited the widow of Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, as well as Mike Krieger of Instagram, now part of Facebook Inc.

NASA’S MOHAWK GUY

Bobak Ferdowsi, the spike-haired NASA flight engineer who gained notoriety last summer during the much-vaunted landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, will also sit in the first lady’s box. The flight engineer’s punk-rock hairstyle became an Internet sensation and also helped draw attention to the government agency, especially among youth.

102-YEAR-OLD OBAMA VOTER

Desiline Victor, another guest of the first lady, may be the oldest guest watching the speech in person Tuesday. The 102-year-old Haitian immigrant of Florida waited for three hours to vote early for the president in late October before being told to return later to avoid the crowd. Victor, a naturalized citizen, eventually cast her ballot and has since become the face of voting reform. Activists want the system overhauled after many faced long lines in the November 2012 election.

OTHER GUESTS:

-American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, whose organization offered relief after Hurricane Sandy and other recent disasters, is a guest of House Speaker John Boehner.

-Boehner, an Ohio Republican, also invited Ted Kremer, a 30-year-old with Down syndrome and bat boy with the Cincinnati Reds baseball team whose story became popular after local media reports.

-Avondale, Arizona Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, another Michelle Obama guest, became the city’s first Latina mayor in 2006 and is also president of the National League of Cities.

-Amanda McMillan of Jackson, Mississippi, who sued a local grocer for allegedly being denied a promotion based on her sex, will attend with the first lady.

-Singer Tony Bennett is a guest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.