There was once a time when legislators on both sides of the aisle would just clap and nod at then President Johnson as he made his way towards the podium. Yikes!
I always find the moments right before the President appears, as the most exciting and fun. You get to see politicians and Supreme Court judges vying for a few sacred moments with the president. This article in the Washington Post, refers to those who've waited hours to meet the president as "squatters". While some legislators do it for political reasons (i.e, being seen on television with the president boosts one's credibility), others are special guests and are politically symbolic in advancing one's cause: immigration, gun-reform, economy (choose your pick).
Hadiya Pendleton's mom is invited as the guest of the First Lady. You'll remember that Hadiya, the 15 year old honor student with big dreams, was fatally shot in Chicago after performing at President Obama's inauguration festivities. On the other ideological spectrum, Ted Nugent-rocker turned gun activist, will attend as a guest of Rep.Steve Stockman (R-Texas). And Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill) will bring an illegal immigrant as his guest. In doing so, it will, no doubt highlight the intricate nuances associated with immigration in this country.