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Michelle Obama picks disaster heroes, gay athlete as speech guests

(Reuters) - Heroes of the Boston Marathon bombing, a firefighter who led the rescue response to an Oklahoma tornado, and an openly gay basketball player will be among U.S. first lady Michelle Obama's guests at the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The White House uses Mrs. Obama's seating area in the chamber of the House of Representatives during her husband's annual speech to Congress to highlight people and issues that are important to her and the administration.

A Washington, D.C. teacher and the youngest intern at Intel Corp will also join the first lady, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in the box on Tuesday, the White House said.

Below are the names and descriptions of the guests the White House has released so far:

1) Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman of Boston

Arredondo, wearing a white cowboy hat, was photographed helping a severely injured Bauman during last year's bombing of the Boston Marathon. The picture became a hopeful symbol of the devastating attack. Bauman lost both of his legs. The two men have become close friends, the White House said.

2) Gary Bird, fire chief in Moore, Oklahoma

Bird led the rescue response to the tornado, which struck Moore, killing 25 people including children. "Fire Chief Gary Bird represents all of those who rallied together to help the community of Moore, Oklahoma - firefighters, police officers, teachers, neighbors - in its greatest time of need," the White House said.

3) Jason Collins - basketball player

Veteran basketball player Jason Collins announced last year that he was gay. A 12-year player in the National Basketball Association, he became the first active athlete from any of the four major U.S. men's professional sports leagues to come out publicly as gay.

4) Joey Hudy, 16, intern at Intel Corp

Hudy met President Obama when he was 14 at a White House science fair in 2012 and impressed him with his "extreme marshmallow cannon." Now 16, he is the youngest intern at U.S. chip manufacturer Intel Corp.

5) Kathy Hollowell-Makle, a teacher in Washington, DC

Hollowell-Makle was the 2013 District of Columbia public school teacher of the year. "By the school year's end, more than 90 percent of her students demonstrate early literacy at proficient or advanced levels and last year, more than 80 percent of her students advanced two or more reading levels," the White House said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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goodlucktu January 27 2014 at 8:48 PM

Who the Hell is Jason Collins..? Can't find his stats

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2 replies
cpenrod goodlucktu January 27 2014 at 8:58 PM

Reportedly a basketball player that came out of his closet. I'm curious whether he patronized Obama's reportedly frequented Chicago men's clubs. It's unbelievable what some Americans refuse to discover. Consider Obama's priorities and then put the puzzle together.

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1 reply
pmtssvt1_sandra cpenrod January 27 2014 at 9:20 PM

So he is being honored for the bravery of "coming out of the closet?" Send him to Iraq if he wants to show how brave he is!!!

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Dan Hartman goodlucktu January 27 2014 at 9:02 PM

A left over from the grammies last night.

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Janie January 28 2014 at 4:20 PM

I find it amusing that those on the left have never chosen to educate themselves as to why the Obamas have made it so easy for Americans to hate them:

$17 trillion in debt...and growing
Benghazi
Fort Hood
Fast & Furious
IRS
AP
NSA
Cash for Clunkers
Social Re-engineering
Redistribution
Solyndra
Obamacare
Entitlements
Syria
Immigration amnesty/Our sovereignty
"Change You Can Believe In"
Transparency
Being Proud of and protecting America, her people...and her Constitution
Stewardship of tax dollars

It's quite odd that those folks don't have questions or concerns themselves! Just what kind of destruction ARE they supporting???

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cvsats09 January 27 2014 at 10:27 PM

By the look on her face, you can tell she didn't like what was said somewhere, even though she was clapping. Sometimes you can tell what a person really thinks by the way they express themselves. I am sure it wasn't what she wanted to hear, but she would clap while forgetting that her expressions really depict what she feels. I can say that this is good for us, and bad for her, as we are able to see what she is really feeling.

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ajl1946 January 27 2014 at 6:56 PM

Why does she look so pissed?

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1 reply
cabinsmoke ajl1946 January 27 2014 at 7:01 PM

She isn't happy unless it is all about her.

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ems6500 January 27 2014 at 1:02 PM

I thought maybe she would invite her travel agent or her senior advisors ( her daughters)

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kspanmn824 January 27 2014 at 11:19 PM

SITTING NEXT TO HER SURE WONT COLLINS CHANGE

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1 reply
tgarcia201 kspanmn824 January 27 2014 at 11:41 PM

one of the reasons he is gay

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ML January 27 2014 at 1:03 PM

cause it's all about Michelle...gimme a break

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hrons January 27 2014 at 1:03 PM

and which wig will she be wearing and who furnished it, the taxpayers, for the queen will arrive, but who will bow?

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1 reply
hony53 hrons January 27 2014 at 1:10 PM

All the government created peasants will bow, looking for even more handouts.

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tgarcia201 January 27 2014 at 11:39 PM

Puhleeze

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ggcarlo4 January 27 2014 at 5:18 PM

Who cares?

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