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Is The State Of The Union 'Date Night' Fading?

White House

As both houses of Congress gather Tuesday for the State of the Union Address, Colorado Senator Mark Udall is determined to keep alive a new tradition of bipartisan seating during the speech.

Last year over 200 members of congress broke party lines and chose to sit next to a member of opposite ideology during the President's address to congress and the nation. According to a US News and World Report blog, far fewer will be participating in what the media has dubbed 'date night' this year.

This is the third time that both Senator Udall and Republican Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski have asked for bipartisan seating.

While there is no official rule requiring it, the tradition of partisan seating goes all the way back to 1845 when the House of Representatives began the practice. In 1913, when Woodrow Wilson gave the first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, both parties observed the House tradition.

Udall Spokesman Mike Saccone says despite less media coverage, the Senator is keeping the initiative going. He says Colorado’s Congressional Delegation will be sitting together for tonight’s speech – and that includes 5th district Republican congressman Doug Lamborn – who boycotted last year’s address.

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