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Holder Staying Away From Obama's Speech

By Ed O'Keefe
Sarah Palin
The attorney general will skip President Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)

Attorney General Eric Holder will not attend President Obama's speech to Congress tonight, according to an administration official, and will instead serve as the "designated survivor," or cabinet secretary kept at an undisclosed location to ensure continuity of government in case of a catastrophic event.

Holder is the third attorney general in recent history to stay away from the big event: Alberto Gonzales did not attend the 2007 State of the Union, while John Ashcroft stayed away in 2003.

Since 1984, the interior secretary has skipped the big speech most frequently, according to the Senate Historical Office. Last year Dirk Kempthorne did not attend President Bush's final State of the Union, Gale Norton stayed away in 2002, Bruce Babbitt did so in 1993, Manuel Lujan was absent in 1991 while Donald P. Hodel served as the appointed no-show in 1988.

Donald Evans, who served as commerce secretary from 2001 to 2005, is the only cabinet secretary to serve as designated survivor twice, in 2004 and 2005. Nobody missed President Bush's first address to Congress in 1989.

Here's the full list of absent cabinet secretaries since 1984:

January 28, 2008: Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
January 23, 2007: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
January 31, 2006: Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson
February 2, 2005: Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans
January 20, 2004: Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans
January 28, 2003: Attorney General John Ashcroft
January 29, 2002: Interior Secretary Gale Norton
February 27, 2001: Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi
January 27, 2000: Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson
January 19, 1999: Secretary of HUD Andrew W. Cuomo
January 27, 1998: Commerce Secretary Bill Daley
February 4, 1997: Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman
January 30, 1996: HHS Secretary Donna Shalala
January 24, 1995: Transportation Secretary Federico Pena
January 25, 1994: Agriculture Secretary Mike Epsy
February 17, 1993: Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt
January 28, 1992: Secretary of Agriculture Ed Madigan
January 29, 1991: Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan
January 31, 1990: Veterans Affairs Secretary Edward J. Derwinski
February 9, 1989: No absent cabinet member
January 25, 1988: Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel
January 27, 1987: Agriculture Secretary Richard Lyng
February 4, 1986: Secretary of Agriculture John Block
February 6, 1985: Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige
January 25, 1984: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel R. Pierce Jr.

Source: Senate Historical Office

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 24, 2009; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Congress  
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1985 Malcolm Baldridge

is that THE Malcolm Baldridge of the Malcolm Baldridge Award in Total Quality Management?????

I wonder who will be the survivors of tonight's speech!!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 24, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

hey holder...

you are NOT as important as you think you are.

you can TRUST me on this one!


holder; "hello obama?"

obama; "yes holder?"

holder; "i decided, that i should stay away from the capital building tonight in case something.. god forbid... happens to you. in this way, i will be able to continue with the proliferation of the human race. i will personally mate with all women and men alike who survive to try and create little holder babies."

obama; "gee holder. that is really big of you.. but i think you should come and listen to me talk.. i only plan to talk for about 3 hours.."

holder; "no, this is too important. the world needs someone awesome like myself to lead them if.. god forbid... something happens to you."

obama; "well holder.. you are a good man. i will personally tell god what you did. you will be rewarded in heaven for this."

holder; "thank you oh exalted one."

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 24, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

3:00pm in the white house... the phone rings.


obama; "hello?"

biden; "hey obama.. it's biden."

obama; "hey biden.. how're they hanging?"

biden; "to the left, but that's not why i called. i think i should stay away from your speech tonight.. you know.. just in case something.. god forbid.. should happen to you.."

obama; "no biden. i want you there."

biden; "damgit!"



obama; "hello?"

emanuel; "hey obama.. this is rahm.."

obama; "hey rahm! how're they hangin?"

emanuel; "to the right, but that's not why i called. i think i should stay away from your speech tonight.. you know.. just in case something.. god forbid.. should happen to you.."

obama; "no rahm. i want you there."

emanuel; "dangit!"



obama; "hello?"

pelosi; "hey obama? this is nancy.. nancy fancy panties pelosi.."

obama; "hey nancy.. how're they hanging?"

pelosi; "excuse me?"

obama; "never mind. what's up nancy?"

pelosi; "well.. i was thinking.. maybe i should stay away from your speech tonight.. you know.. just in case.. god forbid.. something happens to you.."

obama; "no nancy. i want you there."

pelosi; "dangit!"



obama; "hello?"

hillary; "hey obama? hillary here."

obama; "hey hillary. how're they hanging?"

hillary; "to the left, but that's not why i called. i think i should stay away from your speech tonight.. you know.. just in case something.. god forbid.. should happen to you.."

obama; "no hillary. i want you there."

hillary; "dangit!"



obama; "hello?"

holder; "hey obama.. it's eric."

obama; "yes?"

holder; "aren't you going to ask me how they are hanging?"

obama; "no."

holder; "why not?"

obama; "cuz i don't care."

holder; "oh. well.. i don't think i should attend your speech tonight.. you know ju-"

obama; "okay."

holder; "don't you want to think about it?"

obama; "no."

holder; "oh. you know.. everyone's going to be there.."

obama; "i know."

holder; "actually.. i really would like to attend.."

obama; "i don't want you there."

holder; "come on.. please?"

obama; "nope."

holder; "can i watch you on tv?"

obama; "nope."

holder: "can i listen to you on the radio?"

obama; "nope."

holder; "can i read the speech in the newspaper tomorrow?"

obama; "nope."

holder; "can i look at you?"

obama; "nope."

holder; "can i look at a photo of you?"

obama; "nope."

holder; "can i draw a little stick figure of you on a piece of paper with your name written on top?"

obama; "nope."

holder; "oh man. well.. i guess i'll be going now.."

obama; "okay."

holder; "i'm really going.."

obama; "fine."

holder; "i'm serious."

obama; "i know."


holder; *sigh*

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 24, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

And Joe Biden thought he was top dog in the Administration. The guy that called us all cowards is waiting in the wings should a disaster occur. That makes me feel so secure. OMG!

Posted by: mharwick | February 24, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

What . . . Jack Ryan wasn't available?

Posted by: dcpost1 | February 24, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I think Holder has left his ethics in an undisclosed location.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | February 24, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

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