The White House announced today the first round of guests to be invited to sit with President Barack Obama's two top ladies — Michelle and senior advisor Valeri Jarrett — during Tuesday's State of the Union address. As always, the honor goes to model U.S. citizens, recognized for excellence or heroism shown this year:
Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman. The Boston Marathon bombing survivors were captured in a now-iconic image, branding them faces of "Boston Strong," in which Arredondo, an veteran activist who just happened to be on the scene, rushes an injured Bauman to safety. Bauman helped visually identify the suspects even after losing both legs in the attack.
Gary Bird. The fire chief led search-and-rescue missions following the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma earlier last year.
Jason Collins. The NBA player was the first "active" player in one of the four major sports to publicly come out as gay, winning accolades from the president for contributing to the progress of America's LGBT movement.
Joey Hudy. The 16-year-old is a "self-described 'Maker'" and is Intel's youngest intern. He once made an "extreme marshmallow canon." The teen tweeted a reaction to the announcement:
Kathy Hollowell-Makle. The veteran teacher won the District of Columbia Public School's Teacher of the Year award in 2013.
Last year, Michelle sat with a similar cast of educators, heroes and exemplars of the president's immigration and health care policies. A second round of 2014 guest announcements is expected to be released soon.
Obama's 2014 address follows what critics have called his worst year in office, and sets the table for he hopes will not be an even worse one, come mid-term election time. It is also slated to take place on the coldest day of the year (which means that any mention he makes of "global warming" will immediately be scoffed by global warming "experts"), so he's going to need all the support he can get.