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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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Mary January 27 2014 at 4:24 PM

Bless all that were chosen to hear the "Speech" live.....Bless all those that need a paycheck and more food on the table! I really don't care about what Obama wears, how her hair is cut,how thin her arms are etc. I do care about AMERICA and how we ALL NEED JOBS!!!!!!!

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2 replies
you sweet thing Mary January 27 2014 at 4:46 PM

Jobs? How are you going to have jobs when they are regulated out of existence? There will be many fewer jobs as time goes on, just as millions who were working when O was mistakenly elected are not working now. Expect those who elected him to get richer while you get poorer.

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rbell72981 Mary January 27 2014 at 4:48 PM

She don't and neither does her husband.

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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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md052 January 27 2014 at 1:03 PM

who won't be there....members of the Supreme Court have decided not to attend as they described it nothing more then a political cheer leading session at which they are supposed to sit and look stoic. They have described that what we see on TV is not what really goes in the chamber and not something they want to be part of.

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2 replies
Paul Castle md052 January 27 2014 at 1:14 PM


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lsnikinalx md052 January 27 2014 at 2:10 PM

....some justices will attend, others will not. Non are required to be there. Court members are not required by law to be there, but custom has dictated their appearance in their robes, mostly for show. Never before has "politicians", judges included been more expressive in "why" they will or will not attend. But I am certainly guessing why Conservative judges have expressed their displeasure in just sitting there looking like potted plants, AFTER PRES. OBAMA RAKED THEM OVER THE COALS REGARDING THEIR "CITIZEN'S UNITED" DECISION, TO WHICH THEY COULD SAY A DAMN THING ABOUT IT. Ha! Below is one jounalist's report following Obama's 2010 SOTU speech:

The political embers were stoked three years ago when Obama went after high court conservatives during the speech.

He singled out the majority ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, issued a week earlier, which removed legal barriers preventing corporations and unions from spending unlimited sums on federal elections.

"With all due deference to the separation of powers," Obama said, "the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections."

Sitting just feet away in the audience, Samuel Alito shook his head and mouthed words interpreted as "not true," referring to the line about "foreign corporations," court sources later confirmed.

Alito's five fellow justices with him that night showed no emotion.

Chief Justice John Roberts labeled the political atmosphere at the 2010 address "very troubling" and said partisan rhetoric and gestures aimed at the court left him questioning whether his colleagues should attend.

"It does cause me to think whether or not it makes sense for us to be there" Roberts said weeks after the controversy. "To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there."

For those who accuse the President of acting or thinking he's a king,...Conservative judges, at that point have outwardly complained or questioned why they should be "questioned" about attending.

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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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mark and sheri January 28 2014 at 2:58 AM

State of the Union Addresses become more like Circuses every year. Let's use modern technology. post it on the Internet, get on with the Country's Business. This system is left over from the days of more primitive technology.

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MIKEY'S SCREEN January 28 2014 at 3:31 AM

Ahhhhh...... Who really cares what puppets they put in front of the camera?

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zeek714 January 28 2014 at 5:28 AM

Please !!!! Enough is enough, Can we go on without the OBAMA'S in the news ...
I bet she tells him what she wants and he jumps through hoops to get it done. WHY DON"T THEY DO SOMETHING FOR OUR COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN IT...Then you can get an award for doing something. I am sick and tired of them....

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2 replies
gumbiee49 zeek714 January 28 2014 at 6:28 AM

Exactly like move to another country

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Charles zeek714 January 28 2014 at 7:47 AM

They are doing something for the country and the people who live in it. They are destroying this great country and taxing the hell out of the American working people while dividing the nation and trying to break our spirit. Obama is the only president in the history of the USA that can be credited with all time record gun sales. There were more firearms sold in his presidency alone then in any other time, except the revolution. That is the ONLY good thing he has done for America and we who support the 2nd Amendment are very greatful for that.

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beachnut054 January 28 2014 at 5:46 AM

The Obummer administration has done more to destroy this country than any other in history except perhaps the Clintons . Her disdain for the people shows in every photo , She ? has done nothing in her time as first lady ? except spend taxpayer money on her multitude of vacations and extravagant parties , Why haven't these communists been booted to the curb and made to repay all the money they have frivolously spent

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lesrob60 January 27 2014 at 8:04 PM

Does anyone know if the obamas have any friends or even a friend? This is a serious question , I have never heard of friends before 08.

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