As a member of Congress I sat through 20 State of the Union addresses. I listened to Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. Four of those I spent sitting behind the president as Speaker of the House.
During each of the four years I was speaker, it was President Clinton who delivered the State of the Union address.
I can tell you firsthand that it is very challenging to be the Republican Speaker of the House sitting directly behind a Democratic president as he delivers his biggest speech of the year. There are more pitfalls than you might imagine...
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