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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 01/25/2011

State of the Union as homecoming dance: Who went with whom?

By The Reliable Source

Rep. Jane Harman (Katherine Frey / TWP)/ House Rules Committee minority chair David Dreier (Melina Mara/TWP)/ Rep. Maxine Waters (AP /Charles Dharapak)

What started out as an earnest symbol of bipartisan unity -- Republicans and Democrats sitting together at Tuesday's State of the Union address turned into. . . an "After School Special" about bipartisan unity.

Sen. Mark Udall first proposed the idea of crossing the aisle because, he said, the SOTU had become "like a high school pep rally." (With "you lie!" instead of "rah rah!" and mandatory standing O's instead of cheerleader pyramids) This year it was like. . . well, a second-grade Valentine exchange, or the homecoming dance?

The endless hype -- who asked who? who got dissed? -- played out over a couple days of tweets, press releases, cutesy cable-news stand-ups and strategic leaks, creating the illusion for Washington's chattering class that something historic was happening. Guess what, guys? No one's going to care tomorrow. (Full State of the Union coverage)

A brief guide to Tuesday's SOTU's hookups:

Nancy Pelosi and Roscoe Bartlett, 2009. (AP /Haraz N. Ghanbari)

  • Nancy Pelosi turned down Eric Cantor to go with Reps. Roscoe Bartlett and Judy Chu. "I look forward to sitting between two lovely ladies," Bartlett said in a press release.

  • House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer went with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Heh heh. Make up your own joke.

  • Sens. Claire McCaskill and Jerry Moran. "Glad that seat mate for tonight is new R Sen Jerry Moran from KS, "tweeted McCaskill. "He's also KU grad. The D v R thing is probably easier than Tiger v Jayhawk."

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski went with Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the self-proclaimed "Polish caucus, " but let Sen. Daniel Akaka tag along. (Update: Murkowski had to leave early for son's appendectomy.)

  • Reps. Jane Harman, David Dreier and Maxine Waters, who announced they had "even coordinated our outfits for this special occasion." Waters planned on a red jacket; he wore a red elephant tie.

  • • Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were one of several state couplings from the senate (Pennsylvania's Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Florida's Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.) "I'm bringing the popcorn; he's bringing a Coke with two straws," Durbin said. "Just kidding, of course."

    Peter T. King (Ben de la Cruz/TWP)/Anthony Weiner (AP/Chris Usher)

  • For those that hoped a small fight might break out in the boring part of the speech: Sens Tom Coburn and Chuck Schumer ("We believe in strenuous discourse," Schumer told NBC) and Reps. Peter King and Anthony Weiner, who screamed at each other on Fox New last summer. Good times. "This is really stretching the outer limits of civility for Weiner and I to be sitting together," King told Politico, saying it was his wife's idea.

  • Cute Overload: The Congressional women's softball team (Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chellie Pingree, Shelley Moore-Capito, Jean Schmidt, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) all wearing pink.

    Of course, plenty of lawmakers dismissed the whole parade as a meaningless display -- including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who claimed voters were more interested in "actual accomplishments" than the seating chart.

    Or maybe he couldn't get a date. Sen. Joe Lieberman was still looking over the weekend: "When I was in high school," he told ABC, "I always waited too long before the prom to ask for a date."

    Can't get enough? More SOTU dates at The Fix
    Full State of the Union coverage

  • By The Reliable Source  | January 25, 2011; 7:00 PM ET
    Categories:  Politics  
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    Date night!

    You know, years ago congressmen and senators used to move their families here and live here. They knew each other, their kids went to the local public schools. Life was less fragmented and colleagues got to know each other. I can't say that people are better served now by having their members of Congress back in their states fundraising every weekend.

    Posted by: cassandra9 | January 25, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

    I agree Cassandra, but if the courts' decision about Rahm is a precedent, no one will ever think about moving their families here again.

    Posted by: shellyd1977 | January 26, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Couldn't get aq date! Who'd want to be next to that sour puss who'd just say NO?

    Posted by: SpotlessCrab | January 26, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

    i was wondering who Barney Frank asked? He likes young attractive males so i think one of those freshman from the midwest would have been perfect fit.. Can't imagine if Hillary was still a Sen. There is not a man within 100 miles of the place that could handle her and her broom.

    Posted by: doyouktt | January 26, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

    Hey SpotlessCrab, the other possibility is that dozens of Democrats did, in fact, invite Mitch McConnell to sit with them. He, of course, said no.

    Posted by: exco | January 27, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

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