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#TedTalks: The Presiders

The Golden Gavel (Courtesy Senate Historian's Office)
The Golden Gavel (Courtesy Senate Historian's Office)

For every moment Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has spent on the floor protesting the president’s health care law, there has been a Democrat in the Senate chamber chair, presiding and listening to him speak.

An “honor” typically bestowed on the majority party’s freshmen, presiding over the chamber for new members is part education, part hazing, part contest to secure the “Golden Gavel,” a reward for presiding for more than 100 hours of a Senate session.

But at times like these — Cruz’s nearly daylong talk, Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster over domestic surveillance — presiding over the chamber is a marathon-scheduled, front-row seat to the closest the Senate gets to the version of the chamber romanticized in Jimmy Stewart movies, where filibusters aren’t just procedural votes requiring 41 members to register their opposition.

So without further ado, a list of senators who were in the chamber (while you were sleeping):

Tuesday, 2:15 p.m.:
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

3-5 p.m.: Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.

5-7 p.m.: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

7-9 p.m.: Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

9-11 p.m.: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. After presiding, Kaine was one of the few Democrats who decided to engage Cruz on the floor by asking questions.

11 p.m.-1 a.m. Wednesday: Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn. Murphy created a bit of a stir on Twitter when he tweeted this on his way into the chamber:

1 -3 a.m.:

3-5 a.m.: Baldwin

5-7 a.m.: Donnelly

7-8 a.m.: Manchin

8-9 a.m.: Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill. Durbin also made an appearance on the floor Tuesday evening to challenge Cruz on his opposition to Obamacare.

9 a.m.-11 a.m.: Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.

WGDB hopes these Democrats send their appropriate thank-you notes to Cruz for helping them earn hours toward their coveted Golden Gavels.

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