CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Lisa Desjardins from the Cannon House Office Building rotunda:
What it’s like right now: strange and amped up.
I’m am waiting for an interview (Ft. Hood hero Matt Cooke) and Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pennsylvania, has just run out, chasing down 60 Minute’s Scott Pelley. The lawmaker hands the reporter a brochure, I’m guessing about mental health care, Murphy’s signature issue. Photo. They part and one staffer nearly runs into a group of three blind people crossing the room. I look up and the balcony, which usually is just Capitol regulars, is brimming with television star power. One female anchor pulls out an enormous can of hair spray and I groan to myself, knowing it is both a bad stereotype and a necessary item for any woman in the spotlight. Scanning back down around me, huh, there are more blind people and guide dogs. I ask. They are lobbying to try and raise the minimum wage for the disabled (yes, there is a separate, lower minimum wage for the disabled). Overheard from someone unconnected passing by: “If they really wanted to be in the chamber, their agent should have made it happen.” It is a time and place with an untethered electric charge, more than even a State of the Union address explains. My interview and his family arrive and look a bit bewildered by the entire, strange scene.