Sen. Mark Udall: Let’s all sit together during the State of the Union Address

Amid the calls for increased “civility” in political rhetoric after last weekend’s shooting in Tucson, Arizona, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado is challenging his colleagues to own up to all the talk and sit together instead of splitting by party lines during this year’s State of the Union Address

Members of Congress traditionally divide by party for the annual address, making for a striking visual effect when one side of the room erupts in applause while the other sits silently. Udall wants to change that for good.

“It is important to show the nation that the most powerful deliberative bodies in the world can debate our differences with respect, honor and civility.  We believe that it is not only possible, but that it is something that nearly all members of Congress truly desire.  To that end, we suggest setting a small, but important, new tradition in American politics,” the letter reads. “It’s a simple step, but an important one that will go a long way in bridging our political divide.  So I’m asking my colleagues to join me in sitting side-by-side in a symbolic gesture that reflects the diversity in the communities we represent.”

If agreed to, the act would be unprecedented in recent history, a spokesman from Udall’s office confirmed.

“According to our research, there’s no evidence that the parties have ever sat together, but there are anecdotal reports of individual members sitting with the other side,” Udall Press Secretary Jennifer Talhelm told The Daily Caller in an e-mail.

Udall sent the letter Wednesday afternoon shortly before the House was set to vote on a resolution condemning the attack in Arizona and honoring the victims. He is waiting to hear back from party leadership.

When asked if Udall would sit with Republicans even if his colleagues don’t follow his lead, Talhelm said that Udall is “sure that others will join him.”

House Speaker John Boehner formally invited President Obama to deliver the annual speech on Tuesday. The official date has been set for Jan. 25th.

UPDATE: Sen. Udall’s spokesman says that Democrats Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Connecticut independent Joseph Leiberman are “officially on board.”

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  • kemo sabe

    what’s next: “that precious 9-year-old girl would have wanted us to pass this new tax legislation…”?

  • mcgirv

    Let’s not!

  • oldguy5

    It’s funny now that Repubs have the majority in the House they want to sit together. Mr. Udall, where was your voice when all the bad bills were passed by dem votes only? Why did you not stand up at that time and say wait a minute, lets talk about the other sides views.

    Why Mr. Udall why did you not do thid 2 years ago – you pompous ass.

    • snappercat

      He’s aware of the bad visuals as a majority in the chamber stay seated while a minority jump up and applaud Obama’s speech.

  • IMcasualcat

    There must NEVER be any show of solidarity by our Congressional and Senate representatives.
    This is the sort of gesture that undermines years of effort that it took to get them at each others throats in the first place.
    ANY sort of bi partisan solidarity must be squashed immediately and with enthusiasm before it results in actually accomplishing something.

  • kingfish

    Mr. Udall, you’ve already shown the people EXACTLY what congress is about — shoveling the people’s money to the big banksters! It’s about time all of you started shaking in your shoes, after the way you’ve run over the the people of this country with a MACK truck, ignoring the constitution, “forgetting” our soldiers are still in wars YOU are funding, giving us the middle finger while shoveling our jobs and money to the big banks and big corporations hiding out in foreign countries with no taxes. May you all reap what you’ve sewn.

    Jesse Jackson Jr. is shaking in his boots, wanting a “shield” on the floor of congress.

  • JoeJ

    Does Udall want them them all to do a unison clap like the old Soviet commie party used to do?

  • rattlingpatriot

    Sen. Udoll – we understand your ploy well. You are afraid that you democrats will look like a tiny-winnie party occupying seats in the house. Are you afraid of the “optics”? The sizable strength of the CONSERVATIVES will be overwhelming ….. he he he ….. truth hurts, doesn’t it? Sit quietly like a minority. “We won, you lost” quoting BHO.

  • ohthehugemanatee

    No thanks Senator.

  • snappercat

    Using this tragedy for political advantage is getting quite tiring.

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