Bipartisan Standing ‘O’ for Obama on Immigration Message – Though Boehner Sits

Photograph by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner listens as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on Feb. 12, 2013.

Perhaps House Speaker John Boehner has a bad back. Or maybe the Ohio Republican just had a long day.

When President Barack Obama’s called for “comprehensive immigration reform” in his State of the Union speech, most Republican lawmakers joined their Democratic counterparts in a standing ovation, Bloomberg’s Jim Rowley reports from inside the hall. But right behind the president, Boehner remained seated — and retained the dour countenance that marked his expression during most of Obama’s address.

Boehner did rise to his feet when the president turned to the fight against terrorists and declared that America had achieved is objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda.

UPDATE: Though clear differences exist between the two parties on the specifics of rewriting immigration policy — particularly on how to handle the status of those who entered the country illegally — after Obama’s speech Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said, “There is certainly a renewed interest on both sides of the aisles to do immigration reform.”

Ayotte added: “There is universal applause for the notion of reforming our visa system to ensure that we keep those that are educated here to stay in this country and grow their jobs and businesses.”

Even more significantly, House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican with unquestioned conservative credentials, said lawmakers “are going to try to find that common ground” on “the status of those not lawfully here today.”

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