HUD secretary misses speech for security
One member of President Barack Obama's Cabinet was picked to watch his State of the Union address on television.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was tapped to stay away from the speech in case a calamity were to strike the Capitol.
The White House typically selects one member of the Cabinet to remain in a safe place and skip the event that draws the Cabinet, top White House officials, Congress and the Supreme Court.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also was missing, but that's because she is traveling. Clinton is meeting an array of foreign ministers this week in London, where she and her colleagues are attending international conferences on Afghanistan and Yemen, and in Paris on Friday, where she will deliver a speech on European security.
Guests: heroes, Florida woman
Two police officers credited with stopping last year's shooting rampage at Fort Hood were guests of the first lady for the speech.
Sgts. Kimberly Munley, right, and Mark Todd sat with Michelle Obama in a gallery overlooking the House floor. On Nov. 5, the officers opened fire on Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people in the worst mass murder on a U.S. military base. Munley was wounded in the incident.
Cindy Parker-Martinez of Belle Isle, in Orange County, was another of guest of the first lady. Parker-Martinez, a mother of two young children, shared her story of the problems her family faces with the current health care system at a community discussion at the University of Central Florida in Orlando in December 2008. In April 2008, Parker-Martinez, her husband and her son were all denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Her 11-month-old daughter was also denied coverage due to an insurance company age requirement of 12 months. Parker-Martinez and her husband are currently uninsured because they cannot afford the insurance offered at her husband's employer.
Did you 'friend' President Obama?
Showing how this White House has adapted to social media, the speech had a special Facebook application called White House Live. Viewers could watch the president's speech streaming live from WhiteHouse.gov and participate in a live discussion on Facebook at the same time.
Mideast, Pakistan, Gitmo didn't get in
There was a notable silence in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday on Pakistan's struggle with al-Qaida. Likewise, there were no mentions in the speech of the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians or the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
All of those elements of American foreign policy are top challenges facing the Obama administration, but they didn't make the cut for his first State of the Union address. Obama promised during his first days in office to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. That effort is ongoing, but he has missed his own one-year deadline.