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GOP Leader Endorses Mixed Seating for State of the Union

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"It's an opportunity..."

A House GOP leader has come out in support of a Democratic Senator's proposal that Democrats and Republicans not sit on separate sides of the aisle during the president's upcoming State of the Union address. It would be the first time the party's mixed during the speech.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado on Wednesday suggested ending the tradition of separating lawmakers into Republican and Democratic camps. He said that seating arrangement offers a negative symbol of division.

On Friday, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) endorsed the idea, joking that he might even sit next to Democratic Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD).

“Steny Hoyer and I try to talk quite often and I would enjoy sitting next to him. I’d go sit by them [Democrats]. It’s an opportunity here and I think the American public would find it as a positive one,” he said.

The idea is starting to gain traction. Besides McCarthy, Sen. John McCain showed his support for the idea by re-tweeting Udall's Twitter message about the proposal:

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the idea "interesting" during his daily press briefing yesterday.

"Maybe not having a physical aisle separate us would be a good thing as we talk about the state of our union," he said when asked about the proposal.

Despite seating during the speech not being assigned, politicians have always sat on opposite sides. Whether or not politicians mix on January 25, the day of the speech, remains to be seen, as there is no official process for making such a decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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