February 08, 2023

Welcome back to Sneak. Smart Brevity™ count: 494 words ... 2 minutes.

🎤 1 big thing: Hot mic warning

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Republicans have been warned to act as if the country is watching — and listening — at the State of the Union, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.

  • "There was just a reminder that there are boom microphones and some people's conversations will be picked up and that anything you're reading on your phone ... could be picked up by a zoom lens," House GOP campaign arm leader Rep. Richard Hudson told Axios.

Why it matters: There are plenty of recent experiences to give House Speaker Kevin McCarthy cause for concern.

  • Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) — who still serves in the House — shouted “You lie!” during then-President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009, prompting the Democratic-controlled House to formally reprimand him.
  • Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) heckled President Biden during his State of the Union last year, at one point trying to start a “Build the wall” chant as he spoke about immigration.
  • Some Democrats were disruptive during former President Trump’s State of the Union addresses — with many groaning and booing during his 2018 speech and three walking out in 2020.

McCarthy is promising civility: "We're members of Congress. We have a code of ethics of how we should portray ourselves, that's exactly what we'll do," he told CNN today.

2. Bidenworld expectations

Security forces around the Capitol today. Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The "unity plan" is back as part of this year's State of the Union, Axios' Hans Nichols reports.

Ahead of the speech, the White House told House Democrats and their staffers that Biden's address will draw a sharp contrast between how the two parties are approaching policymaking, lawmakers and aides tell Andrew Solender.

  • White House senior advisor Anita Dunn briefed lawmakers, while deputy comms director Kate Berner gave a staff-level Zoom briefing.
  • "He's going to brag about everything we've accomplished.... He's going to talk about the things that are still there," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Progressive Caucus, summarizing Dunn's briefing.
  • Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of Democratic leadership, said Biden is also expected to make a "commitment to ... work in a bipartisan way."

Between the lines: Rather than address Republican investigations into his administration directly, Biden's speech will contrast the motives of Democrats and Republicans, then TV surrogates will hammer the message.

3. Musk's constituent service

Screenshot: Elon Musk/Twitter

Elon Musk freed Montana GOP Sen. Steve Daines from Twitter jail today, getting his account back online after it was suspended for the posting of a picture with a dead animal.

  • "This is being fixed," Musk tweeted.

Daines had posted a photo with his wife after a successful antelope hunt. The photo included animal blood.

  • Daines thanked Musk in a statement and said the initial ban was "disappointing given the fact that it is no different than photos Montanans share on social media every day."

📬 Thanks for reading. This newsletter was edited by Justin Green and copy edited by Brad Bonhall.