In ye olden times when the Republic was newish, the president delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in an atmosphere of solemnity, probity and sobriety. This year was more like a brawl.

There were four dueling Republican responses; at least one lawmaker walking out like it was a matinée showing of The Hangover Part III and another threatening to toss a reporter off a balcony. Oh, and the “cocaine congressman,” just back from rehab, suddenly decided to retire this week.

Why should governors have all the fun? Here are some of the great stories we talked about this past week in the Press Pool with Julie Mason on SiriusXM’s POTUS, Ch. 124:

Joe Holley of the Houston Chronicle puzzled out the odd case of Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who stalked out of President Obama’s State of the Union address in protest — to something or other.

Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York menaced a reporter by threatening to break him in half “like a boy” following the State of the Union, and we followed up by talking to John Stanton of Buzzfeed, no stranger to danger himself.

What was up with Republicans this week? Rep. Trey Radel of Florida, dubbed the “cocaine congressman” by the Miami Herald, abruptly resigned from Congress, after promising to serve out his term to the end of the year. Jen Bendery of the Huffington Post had some theories.

The Wall Street Journal this week published a poll showing Washington somewhat at odds with Americans about the most pressing concerns of the nation. Neil King Jr. jumped in the Press Pool to discuss.

Annnnnd bonus link: One of the weirdest features of the annual State of the Union is the tradition of the designated survivor, usually a back-bench Cabinet member, who is tapped to carry on as leader if an attack takes out the rest of government while they are all gathered at the Capitol.

Ann Compton of ABC News talked about how the duties of the survivor have changed since 9/11 (this year’s designee was Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz)

Like what you’re hearing? Check out the Press Pool with Julie Mason weekdays from 3-6 pm ET on POTUS, Ch. 124 and find Julie on Twitter @JulieMason

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