Before every State of the Union, the House chamber becomes a fascinating theater of social networking among the nation's most influential individuals -- and today's presidential speech, while not an official SotU, was no exception.
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The most gregarious lawmakers, including Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH), clustered in the front of the aisles to greet incoming senators and secure a plum position to shake the president's hand (think of this as the Michele Bachmann / Joe Lieberman seat).
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy was one of the few House members who made a point to buttonhole senators during the wait for the president to arrive. In McCarthy's case, she stood at the side of Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ), the Democratic campaign chief who could hold the key to her primary effort against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) next year.
When the president's Cabinet members began entering the chamber, cheers seemed to break out every minute.