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President Obama is preparing for his final State of the Union address. Pete Souza has been busy Instagramming about it for a week, but the preparation on Capitol Hill is something to behold. From the set up in Statuary Hall to the fact check documents and shareable graphics that press staff are busy generating, tomorrow is a Hill Press Secretary’s Super Bowl (or National Championship Game? Roll Tide.).

Survival Guide

If you’re new to this, here’s a quick survival guide. Trust us, you’re going to need it.

  1. First: Watch Chris Moody’s The State of the Union Address as a Wes Anderson film.
  2. Get dinner. Get dinner before Capitol Police will not let you in or out of your office building. We hear the Energy and Commerce Committee press has dominated this game with a Hill Country BBQ feast and a potluck in recent years.
  3. Find friends. It’s always helpful to watch the speech with fellow staffers. Conference or committees are likely to have several staff sticking around to watch, go join them!
  4. Do a walkthrough of Statuary Hall.
  5. Read the materials Conference sends to you. They work hard on them. They will help you.
  6. Plan a spot to meet your boss after the speech.
  7. Tell your boss do not pass go, do not go chatting with every reporter he or she sees on the way to that spot.
  8. REMEMBER: There are Live. Mics. Everywhere.
  9. Wear clothes and shoes that you will be comfortable in for 12+ hours while still looking on top of your game.
  10. Focus on local media. Local. Local. Local. It’s the folks back home who care most about what your boss has to say about the speech.
  11. Don’t tweet from your boss’ account during the speech.
  12. Actually, don’t tweet at all during the speech.
  13. Listen to the speech. We know your statements are already written, but it will need to make sense!
  14. Pack an emergency makeup kit, backup tie, extra tights, Tide-to-go pen.
  15. Stock the fridge with Red Bulls/the coffee maker with plenty of K-cups.
  16. Avoid any hard right or hard left leaning outlets – emotions will run high (“thrills up your leg,” anyone?)
  17. On that note, do not open Facebook.
  18. If you take Metro to/from work, it closes at midnight. Plan accordingly.

To those of you who are no longer on Capitol Hill, enjoy watching the speech at home, at a bar, or (gasp) not watching it at all. #freedom