You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation


Getty Images

My colleague Elizabeth Bruenig already ribbed House Speaker Paul Ryan for suggesting he might struggle not to wince or grimace behind President Obama during the State of the Union tonight. But it’s worth remembering there’s a long history of bitterness between Ryan and both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who’s seated next to Ryan behind the lectern. 

Back in 2011, after losing the House of Representatives, Obama delivered a blistering condemnation of the Republican budget, which Ryan authored, with Ryan sitting at the front of the room. A year later, during Obama’s re-election campaign, Biden steamrolled Ryan in the vice presidential debate. So it stands to reason there’s more tension in the Speaker’s rostrum this year than when John Boehner sat there last year.