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Obama's Speech - small crowd , mega security

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Barack Obama’s speech to Congress this evening had been declared a National Special Security Event, just like at least one Super Bowl.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday morning that the Secret Service has been given the assignment of coordinating a massive security effort, the kind of that is usually rolled out for events involving large crowds. In addition to the 2002 Super Bowl, other events getting this special security treatment include the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and the 2008 Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

A Secret Service spokesman notes that only the 2002 Super Bowl got full National Special Security Event (NSSE) treatment. For other Super Bowls, the Secret Service helps with credentials and other unspecified security issues. The Salt Lake City Olympics also got full NSSE treatment, the Secret Service says.

A small crowd with clout

What Tuesday night's crowd lacks in size, it will make up for in political clout. If every member of the House of Representatives and US Senate were to show up, that would only be 535 individuals. Also attending will be a handful of the nine members of the Supreme Court, assorted diplomats, and members of his Cabinet. Since the President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House all will be present, one member of the Cabinet will stay away from the event so he or she could serve as President in case of disaster.

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