> Charlie Gibson was the first face seen on ABC’s broadcast. He called the SOTU “one of the most majestic traditions in American government,” then quoted from the Constitution.
> In Elizabeth Vargas‘ opening remarks, she said: “Tonight I’m happy to report that both Bob and Doug are back in the U.S. They are improving dramatically each day…We look forward to bringing you more hopefully optimistic and improving updates in the next days.”
> I may be the only one who finds this interesting but…The AP just moved this photo of Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine watching Bush as he prepared to deliver the Democratic response. What channel is he watching? Fox News! Here’s the full-size photo… Update: 9:50am: “Governor Kaine was watching Fox news because Fox News was the pool for the Democratic Response,” a tipster says.
> CBS anchor Bob Schieffer said the adress is less of a laundry list “and a little more like an inaugural speech.”
> NBC’s Brian Williams noted that the Bush presidency is “down to, roughly, a thousand days.”
> I hope Williams wasn’t the only anchor to comment about Hurricane Katrina in the minutes before the address…
> FNC’s Brian Wilson reported that Cindy Sheehan was detained when she tried to unfurl a banner in the gallery. Brit Hume seemed pretty interested… Update: 9:55am: “Brian Wilson — and Brit Hume — were wrong about Sheehan. She was removed for a T-shirt, not a banner. But don’t let that mess up FOX’s narrative,” an e-mailer adds…
> FNC’s Carl Cameron: “Tonight he will urge the American people to stand with himâ€¦”
> CNN’s Dana Bash: “The White House knows that the State of our Union…is one of some pessimism right now…Bush will try to battle the bad news [the American people] hear every day.”
> CNN’s Candy Crowley noted that she received a statement from a Democratic congressman attacking Bush’s “empty rhetoric” in the SOTU — at about 8pm…