* John Kerry led the Cabinet in; Steven Chu was the Cabinet member left behind this time to run the government if catastrophe strikes.

* CNN’s John King talking in argumentative way that Obama has to take into account needs of Dem Senators up in 2014. Gergen, who clearly doesn’t like this, says Obama playing to his base. Newt hilarious: Obama will “demonize” Republicans, which is a “rational strategy.” Now Gingrich and Granholm talking over each other. Really want Obama to arrive to shut these people up, before Gergen gets rolling on his “we need a grand bargain” number. Aaargh, too late!

* Ah, here he is. Think it was Maxine Waters who got the first presidential smoochy smoochy.

* Dana Bash reporting on Breakfast With Boehner today: Speaker very “personal” in denouncing Obama for “not having guts to stand up to his party.” Man, he ought to talk….

* Now we can see Boehner live, and he’s only medium orange tonight.

* Obama’s opening: JFK’s “partners for progress.” Nice deft touch: makes bipartisanship contingent. And first boast: troops coming home from Afghanistan. Then right into a positive take on economic trends, and of course, “the state of the union is stronger,” immediately hedged by reflection on unemployment and inequality. Nice contrast of record corporate taxes and stagnant middle-class incomes.

* Record early shout-out to LGBT equality: “…no matter who you love.”

Now that preliminaries over, I’ll switch to new thread.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.