State of Union Guest List Offers Clues to Speech Content

Photograph by Noah Berger/Bloomberg

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc.

For clues about the topics President Barack Obama will cover in his State of the Union address tonight, just peruse a guest list for the event.

Of the 24 guests slated to join Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett in the First Lady’s box during the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress, three are immigrants, three have military ties and three are business leaders. Obama is expected to dedicate ample time in his remarks to immigration policy, military plans and business growth, Bloomberg News reported.

He’ll also take on gun violence. The White House invitees include Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr.,  the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago just eight days after participating in Obama’s inauguration. Kaitlin Roig, a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 2o children and six adults were massacred in December, will attend, along with Lt. Brian Murphy, the first police officer on the scene of the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, last August.

In spotlighting U.S. science and technological endeavors, Obama can offer a shout-out to Bobak Ferdowsi, the flight director for NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, or Jack Andraka, a 16-year-old renowned for pioneering a pancreatic cancer detection method.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also is one of the White House guests, as is Peter Hudson, co-founder and CEO of health-care information company iTriage. Deb Carney, owner of New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin, will also represent the business sector — and could even give Obama an excuse to mention his own White House beer to an audience of tens of millions.

Click here for the White House’s full guest list.

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