|Downside: It might be harder to figure out who it was that yelled: "You Lie"|
Texas Representatives Henry Cuellar , a Democrat from Laredo, and Michael McCaul , a Republican from Austin, will breach the partisan divide and sit side-by-side at next week's State of the Union address, their offices announced today. Republicans and Democrats typically sit by party to hear the President's annual address to Congress. But in the wake of this month's shooting in Tucson , Ariz.--in which six people died and Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured--some lawmakers have supported blending the seating arrangements in a show of civility and cooperation."
For the sake of those we represent, we must work hand in hand," said Cuellar in a statement. "This is why Congressman McCaul and I have agreed to sit next to each other at the President's State of the Union. We need to show the nation that in order to move this country forward, we must all work side-by-side."
McCaul said the move was "more than symbolism," adding that he hoped " more of our colleagues will take the same approach to finding solutions to our greatest challenges."
Democratic Sen. Mark Udall from Colorado has taken the lead in promoting the new seating arrangements, and has told CBS News that he knows of at least 30 senators and 15 representatives planning to cross the aisle. Illinois Senators Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Republican, announced their intention to sit together today as well.
There's an argument to be made for dividing the audience by party, however. With the parties separated, viewers can tell at a glance how each party is responding--clapping, standing, glaring resolutely--to the president's speech.