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Posted at 1:39 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Nancy Pelosi declines Eric Cantor's State of the Union invitation -- via Twitter

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 3:35 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday rebuffed Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) invitation to sit together at the State of the Union address, informing the Republican lawmaker -- via Twitter -- that she had already accepted an invitation from another colleague from across the aisle, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.).

"I thank @GOPLeader for his #SOTU offer, but I invited my friend Rep. Bartlett from MD yesterday & am pleased he accepted," Pelosi tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Cantor told reporters Tuesday morning that his office had extended an invitation to Pelosi and that he was waiting to hear back. The invitation came a day after he made an unprompted jab at Pelosi during a pen-and-pad briefing with reporters at which he charged that "it seems that [Pelosi] is continuing to drive an ideological agenda, just the same as she did over the last four years."

Also sitting with Pelosi and Bartlett will be California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu.

"I look forward to sitting between two lovely ladies, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA-32) a,t tonight's State of the Union speech," Bartlett said in a statement.

Cantor tweeted later Tuesday that he will be sitting together with Virginia Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott.

Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing that he proposed a plan for bipartisan members of leadership to sit together, although he declined to go into detail because he was still waiting for other leaders to back the idea.

"I've made a proposal, and I'm not going to tell you the specifics of the proposal because it hasn't been accepted, although I hope it would be," Hoyer said. He did note that if the plan worked out, he and other Democratic leaders, including Reps. Jim Clyburn (S.C.), John Larson (Conn.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.), would be sitting next to their Republican counterparts.

Pelosi had previously declined to weigh in on the idea of bipartisan seating. Asked over the weekend at the House Democratic retreat where she planned to sit, Pelosi declined to say but joked that as House speaker, "I had been sitting next to Vice President Cheney for a long time."

The public jockeying for dates from across the aisle may not have been exactly what Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) had in mind when he penned a letter asking his Senate and House colleagues to sign onto a bipartisan seating plan originally proposed by the centrist Democratic group Third Way.
 
"I think we all believe that the State of the Union's become more like a high school pep rally, and we want to change the tone and show the public that we can work together," Udall said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon with other co-signers of the letter, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).
 
Murkowski, who co-led the effort with Udall, added that the goal of bipartisan seating was to take the focus off the "theatrics" of the president's annual address.
 
"Oftentimes at the State of the Union it becomes more a situation where the attention is not focused on the president's words, but who's standing up, who's sitting down, who's sitting there with their arms across their chest, who is engaged in kind of the theatrics," Murkowski said. "That's not what the State of the Union should be about." She added that she thought it was a good idea to "get out of our conventional skins every now and again," noting that "there are no cooties to be had" between Republicans and Democrats.

Meanwhile, members of Arizona's congressional delegation are planning to reserve an empty seat in honor of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who remains in serious condition after being shot in an apparent assassination attempt in Tucson. Arizona Republican Rep. Dave Schweikert conceived the plan to reserve a seat for Giffords; Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) later sent a letter suggesting that members of the state delegation sit together.

Earlier this month, the House approved a resolution honoring Giffords and the other victims of the shooting, with more than 140 lawmakers delivering often-emotional tributes to their wounded colleague on the House floor and vowing that democracy would not be silenced by the attack.

Amid calls for increased cross-party cooperation in the wake of the Tucson shooting, a plan for bipartisan seating during tonight's address has picked up support from a wide array of lawmakers - and also looks to add an element of chaos to the night's proceedings.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

Some members of Congress have been pairing off. A few of the odd couples include Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who represent opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, and Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) (yes, that Joe Wilson).

California Reps. Maxine Waters (D) and David Dreier (R) aren't only sitting together to show their bipartisanship - they're also planning to dress the part.

"We have even coordinated our outfits for this special occasion," Waters said in a statement.

And Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who announced Monday that they plan to sit together, may not hail from the same party, but they do share similar-sounding names.

Some state delegations, such as Colorado's, Nevada's and Maine's, are planning to sit together during tonight's address. But those arrangements aren't exclusive.

"I'll be sitting with the R & D CO delegation, but u can join us, UT is a neighboring state!," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) tweeted to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) Monday night. The two were co-stars on CNN's "Freshman Year" online reality show two years ago.

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 25, 2011; 1:39 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Next: House votes to cut spending to 2008 levels

Comments

It's all for the best that Pelosi sits somewhere else. See, folks, she's a skank!

Posted by: DeanDR | January 26, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't anybody else think this is all both puerile and somewhat creepy?

Posted by: aprilglaspie | January 26, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The San Fransicko ideology of former speaker Pelosi's refusal to act in a bipartisan manner illustrates why the Dems no longer control Congress. What's good for SanFransicko is bad for mainstream America. The image of Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) with Pelosi would indicate the liberal socialists might be a bit more pragmatic this session. Nah...better to be "pure" and partisan . Keep electing Pelosi as your leader and the Dems will lose further control of Congress. Dumb dumb dumb Nancy.

Posted by: lawyer3 | January 26, 2011 2:28 AM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I would not to sit next to Mr. Cantor: his texting would be too distracting.

Posted by: wstickney1 | January 25, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Eric is lucky. I can't think of anything worse than going on a propaganda date with "Stretch."

Posted by: Prof-Dr-G | January 25, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Cantor was just being polite. He didn't really want to sit next to a senile old Marxist kook like Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by: Azarkhan | January 25, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Why would Nancy P want to sit with Majority Leader Cantor? This is the same Guy who would not tell his charges to knock off the Obama is not a US Citizen chrge. This is the same Guy who wants to repeal Health Care. The same Guy who wants to stop the funding for the implementatation of many of the Health Reform proposals. Nancy needs to give gim the heel of her boot

==========================================
The question is why Cantor would want to sit next to a power-hungry, arrogant strictly partisan, manipulative woman who allowed the left to use the Tucson massacre as a political tool, who had "Democrats only" healthcare meetings and arrogantly marched through the crowds and pushed the healthcare bill through the back door. Cantor reached across the aisle and Pelosi, in true form, bit his hand.

Posted by: bethg1841 | January 25, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Why would Nancy P want to sit with Majority Leader Cantor? This is the same Guy who would not tell his charges to knock off the Obama is not a US Citizen chrge. This is the same Guy who wants to repeal Health Care. The same Guy who wants to stop the funding for the implementatation of many of the Health Reform proposals. Nancy needs to give gim the heel of her boot

Posted by: Carprin | January 25, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

More theatrics to add to grimaces, crossed arms, standing/non-standing members. We can now add who's sitting with whom. Quit posturing and get to work.

Posted by: sober1 | January 25, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is this silly political theatre of who sits next to who akin to the third grade antics of who is popular and who has "coooties."

Just how old are our representatives, anyway...

Posted by: josh13 | January 25, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Bravo for Nancy. Nobody wants to sit next to a jew.

Posted by: dsrobins | January 25, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse


How long into speech will it take for John Boehner to break down in tears?


Posted by: lindalovejones | January 25, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

A fitting rejection of Cantor by Pelosi. He could do nothing but muckrake her when she was Speaker, and now he wants to be seen in her company. Instead of a tweet to reject him, she should have sent him a bag of ice to make sure that he understands that warm cordiality is off the books for him. Being civil is one thing, but he has a pretty uncivil track record, especially as the shadow of the Weeper of the House.

Posted by: ronjeske | January 25, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Master Cantor, try breath mints, a shower and freshly laundered clothes, those are common reasons a lady turns down a boy for a date.

Most important, no lady wants to be 'asked' the day before of the event. It suggests you've asked all the others and been refused by all -- meaning you're a loser and no one wants to hang with you. At best it makes the lady feel like she's second, third, etc. choice -- just not the act of a gentleman.

Don't give up though. There are numerous other events and I'm sure you'll someday find a boy or girl who's right for you. Kisses.

Posted by: mibster | January 25, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

ChooseBestCandidate, please get a life. Your comment is totally off topic as this posting is about sitting together at the SOTUS. A birth certificate has been produced and the case is closed. An affidavit signed by an election officer saying someone told some people he knew that there is no birth certificate is hardly worth the paper on which it's written. Get involved in something that matters to you rather than fueling a moronic conspiracy theory. And, yes, the headline on this article was very misleading.

Posted by: jannettik | January 25, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The seating arrangement is much to do about nothing. Alaska’s RINO Senator Murkowski is quite comfortable with getting out of her conventional skin. One only has to look at her voting record. In this new budget cutting Congress, Murkowski will find it more difficult to get out of her skin with her fellow Republicans since she has always been supportive of big government and spending.

The real theatrics in this State of the Union Address is a Progressive president attempting to appear as a centrist in order to gain favor from his opponents and votes from Independent’s in the next election. President Obama’s view on needed investments will be a failure with the American people who realize the urgency of serious spending cuts. Our silver tongue president has lost his magic. Waiting two years to begin spending cuts and reviewing reforms which kill jobs is too little too late to change the voters mind. Shoving his costly Obama Care down our throats has not been forgotten. ONCE A PERCEPTION IS MADE WITH THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS, IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE. President Obama and most of the Democratic Party are neither sincere nor mentally capable of taking on the challenges involved with the budget or the deficit because they lack the fiscal discipline and their base is addicted to costly entitlements.

Posted by: takebackamerica1 | January 25, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

She already has a date. The headline is misleading. Usually the summer is the silly season in politics. Now it is all the time.

Posted by: Sandydayl | January 25, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

She already has a date. The headline is misleading. Usually the summer is the silly season in politics. Now it is all the time.

Posted by: Sandydayl | January 25, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

latest:
"Former Hawaii elections clerk Tim Adams has now signed an affidavit swearing he was told by his supervisors in Hawaii that no long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate existed for Barack Obama Jr. in Hawaii and that neither Queens Medical Center nor Kapi'olani Medical Center in Honolulu had any record of Obama having been born in their medical facilities."

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | January 25, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

the headline reads as if it was a snub. rather she was already committed. i am not a pelosi fan but fair is fair and it appears one cannot sit in two places at the same time?

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | January 25, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Boycott this charade.

Posted by: nomobarry | January 25, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

a little 7th grade, isn't it?

Posted by: diveguy99 | January 25, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

a little 7th grade, isn't it?

Posted by: diveguy99 | January 25, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Cantor, you are an insult to the G.O.P. Moron

Posted by: nomobarry | January 25, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

They really think we're all morons, don't they. They just cannot stop sinking to new lows.

Posted by: Trout1 | January 25, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Headline is deceptive -

SB: "Cantor late in asking Pelosi for SOTUS date"

Posted by: FoundingMother | January 25, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse


Such important "news." Why don't they all go home and leave us alone?


Posted by: mortified469 | January 25, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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