Newtown’s influence on the president’s State of the Union address tonight is expected to be clear in both word and deed.
By all accounts, President Obama will use part of the address to push his gun-control message, borne from the December shooting of 26 people, 20 of them first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Connecticut town just miles from the New York border.
While he speaks, in the audience will be:
— Patricia Llodra, Newtown first selectman.
— Dan McAnaspie and Jason Frank, two Newtown detectives who were among the first on the scene.
— Natalie Hammond, a Sandy Hook teacher who was shot.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told The Associated Press on Monday he hopes the Newtown presence will inspire Obama.
“I think the president, looking out at the gallery, knowing that victims are there, has to be moved to, in effect, sound the charge” against gun violence, Blumenthal said.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., added: “It’s a reminder to even the most hardened friends of the gun lobby that your community could be next if we don’t make changes.”
First lady Michelle Obama has invited the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago teenager and killed days after performing at the president’s inauguration, to sit with her in her box.
Twenty-two House members have invited people affected by gun violence, according to Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I.
More on the State of the Union
Social media guide to the State of the Union and the White House chat
Why this emotional Newtown guest turned down the State of the Union (The Atlantic Wire)
Above: President Obama, right, and Vice President Biden. (USA Today photo)