Bush Prepares State of the Union for a Tough Crowd

Bush will share the stage, for the first time, with a Republican and a Democrat. To his right, Vice President Dick Cheney, and to his left, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who makes history as the country's first female speaker of the House.

Both parties will look to their leaders on stage for cues as to when to be seen and be heard.

One Washington guessing game is which Cabinet member will be the "designated survivor" and not attend the State of the Union in case there's a catastrophic event. Post-9/11 members of Congress designate survivors, too, to maintain continuity of government in case of an attack or other emergency. In 2006, Secretary of Veterans' Affairs Jim Nicholson stayed away from the State of the Union, along with Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and George Miller (D-Calif.).

White House and congressional guests can also cause something of a red carpet stir. Michael J. Fox is expected to attend as the guest of Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), a staunch supporter of stem cell research.

The first lady's office plans to release the White House guest list Friday.

ABC News' Jessica Yellin and Karen Travers contributed to this report.

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