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State of the Union guests include billionaire's secretary


Guests include Billionaire's secretary

Among this year's guests was Debbie Bosanek, longtime secretary for billionaire Warren Buffett. President Barack Obama frequently cites Buffett's complaint that the nation's tax code is unfair because he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Other guests included:

• Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs

•Former astronaut Mark Kelly, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband.

• Adm. William McRaven, the Navy SEAL who commanded the risky, top-secret raid that killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven now heads the military's Special Operations Command.

• Joan Milligan of Orlando, who refinanced her home through the Home Affordable Refinance Program

Obama taking his ideas on the road

For the next three days, the president will promote his ideas from the speech in five states key to his re-election bid. Today he'll visit Iowa and Arizona to promote ideas to boost American manufacturing; on Thursday in Nevada and Colorado he'll discuss energy; and in Michigan on Friday he'll talk about college affordability, education and training.

Cabinet officers to visit Florida

Several Cabinet secretaries and their deputies plan at least six stops in Florida this week to help push the president's proposals.

Today, Education Secretary Arne Duncan is to visit Tallahassee Community College for a town-hall meeting and later meet with Gov. Rick Scott. Thursday, he will be at Pembroke Pines Charter High School, near Miami.

Also Thursday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan plans to visit the University of Florida to discuss local and regional food systems, and on Friday she visits farmers markets in Lake City and Jacksonville.

Also Friday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood plans to visit Tampa to tout the administration's infrastructure development efforts.

Well, while I have you on your feet

Ah, the bait and switch. President Obama got Republicans to their feet when he told a story that sounded as if it was taken straight from their playbook, the New York Times wrote. He said his administration got rid of a regulation that forced dairy farmers to spend money proving that they could contain a milk spill, because somehow milk had been classified as an oil. "I'm confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder," he said to the approving cheers of Republican lawmakers who relish stories of government bureaucrats run amok. But then he turned the tables before they could take their seats. "But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the gulf two years ago," he said. "I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury pollution, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean."

By the numbers

3rd State of the Union speech for President Obama

1 Cabinet secretary not in the Capitol; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sat out.

5 Supreme Court justices attended: Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan; Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Sotomayor did not

17 kisses Obama gave as he walked to the podium

State of the Union guests include billionaire's secretary 01/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:58pm]
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