They were chosen to exemplify Obama’s numerous interventions in the economy and culture, and also to highlight the importance of demographic groups and states that are critical to Obama’s election.
Twelve of the 21 guests were women, not counting Jill Biden or Valerie Jarrett, both of whom also sat alongside the Mrs. Obama.
Eleven of her guests were from swing states including North Carolina, Colorado, Florida and Virginia.
Three guests were immigrant foreigners, including one who was brought to the United States as a child by parents who entered the country illegally.
Five were soldiers or soldiers’ spouses. Of those, four were women, and the only male slot was assigned to Admiral William McRaven, the commander of the special forces who successfully killed Osama bin Laden.
One of the female soldiers who attended is a lesbian who was impacted by Obama’s support for ending curbs on gays and lesbians in the military. (RELATED: Full coverage of the State of the Union address)
There were also at least two progressive activists, plus two teachers, three lawyers and Rep. Gabby Giffords’ husband.
The first lady’s list included one university graduate with $35,000 in student loans and a low-wage government-backed job, plus another living at home with her parents who wants a taxpayer rebate on her investment in her own education.
Four people with high-tech jobs were among her guests, along with six people who were aided by Obama’s spending on either housing, university funding, General Motors or teacher salaries.
At least one was a single mother.
The list included Debbie Bosanek, who is an assistant at Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway. She was there so the president can urge higher taxes on wealthy people, including Gov. Mitt Romney, who paid $3 million in federal income taxes in 2010.
There were also a few politically discordant notes among Michelle Obama’s expected guests.
Giffords’ husband is Capt. Mark Kelly, whose astronaut career in swing-state Florida was ended by Obama’s budget cuts.
McRaven was the only male soldier who attended, even though the military is overwhelmingly male. The Navy SEAL unit that killed bin Laden, for example, is all-male.
One of the female soldiers is assigned to an anti-missile defense unit whose budget is being targeted by Obama’s budget planners. She served two tours in Iraq where a hard-fought political deal is fragmenting after Obama ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops.
Only nine of the 21 guests were male, but Obama’s polling support among men is far below his support among women.
The list includes a twenty-three-year-old whose cancer treatment was funded by his parents’ insurance policy — a situation whose continued legality is guaranteed by the president’s health care overhaul law. The 50 percent of Americans who oppose Obamacare are not represented.
One guest, Julián Castro, is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and is described as helping establish a plan to build a new solar technology plant in the city.