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Thread: Dog attends State of Union address

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    Default Dog attends State of Union address

    The Associated Press
    WASHINGTON - First lady Laura Bush's guests at her husband's annual address to Congress certainly were diverse. One, in fact, wasn't even human.

    Rex, a 5-year-old German shepherd, fit in with the other Iraq war veterans who were guests of Republicans and Democrats.

    Rex sniffed out bombs in Iraq. He's been the subject of congressional legislation. He's famous, and Wednesday night he became one of Mrs. Bush's guests at the State of the Union speech.

    How Rex landed such a coveted seat actually a spot in the aisle labeled "Rex" on the official seating chart is quite a tale.

    His owner, Air Force Tech Sgt. Jamie Dana, awoke in a military hospital last summer badly injured by a bomb in Iraq and crying for her bomb-sniffing dog. Someone told her Rex was dead.

    Later, Dana found out that wasn't true. But it would take an act of Congress before she could take him home to Pennsylvania.

    The Air Force said it had spent $18,000 training Rex and that, by statute, he needed to finish the remaining five years of his useful life before he could be adopted. Dana's congressman, Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., helped abolish that policy in an end-of-year defense bill, the White House said.

    No less interesting were the other guests of Republicans and Democrats, ranging from parents of fallen soldiers to the mayor of Washington to survivors and rescue personnel from Hurricane Katrina.

    Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., hosted Cindy Sheehan, whose vigil for her 24-year-old soldier son killed in Iraq, Casey, reinvigorated the anti-war movement. But Sheehan was arrested and removed from the House gallery before Bush began speaking. She was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor.

    Also in Mrs. Bush's box were the family of Marine Staff Sgt. Dan Clay, 27, who was killed Dec. 1 in Fallujah.

    Democrats offered a gallery seat to Benny Rousselle, president of Plaqemines Parish, La., which was heavily damaged by Katrina.


    Conspicuously absent from the table of powerful House Republican leaders was Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who sat there for a decade as the vote-counting GOP whip and schedule-setting majority leader. He was forced to step down from the post last year after being indicted on state campaign finance charges and connected to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at the table instead were the candidates to succeed him: Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri, Ohio Rep. John Boehner and Arizona Rep. John Shadegg. House Republicans choose a new majority leader Thursday.

    Spokesman Kevin Madden said DeLay was sitting near a podium from which members debate opponents. Madden said DeLay arrived in Washington around 5 p.m. and planned a full slate of broadcast interviews after the speech.


    Seated below the gallery were the most members of the Supreme Court to attend the annual address since the late 1990s.

    Two new faces appeared: Chief Justice John Roberts and newly confirmed Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Joining them were Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas.

    Breyer is the only court member to attend all the State of the Union speeches since 2000, when none of the justices showed up.

    The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist was not a regular at the State of the Union address. He last attended in 1998.

    It is unusual for all nine justices to attend a State of the Union address. Throughout the mid- to late 1990s, at least five justices turned out to hear the president speak.


    Rep. Ben Cardin and former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, two rivals for the Democratic Senate nomination from Maryland, sat next to one another, chatting occasionally.
    Well, there's one vote he can count on.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dog attends State of Union address

    First lady Laura Bush's guests at her husband's annual address to Congress certainly were diverse. One, in fact, wasn't even human.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dog attends State of Union address

    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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