Lenny Skutnicks

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In the United States, Lenny Skutnicks is a term used by presidential speechwriters to refer to guests at the State of the Union Address that the President points to in order to illustrate a point.

The term comes from Lenny Skutnick, the first guest used in this manner. He was an office worker who jumped into the icy Potomac River to try to save the victims of a 1982 plane crash. President Ronald Reagan pointed to him as an example of the American ideal in his 1982 State of the Union Address.

Since that time, all subsequent presidents have used this approach. They have pointed to ordinary people to discuss tax cuts. Prominent guests are also included such as Adnan Pachachi, the President of the Iraqi Governing Council, to whom George W. Bush pointed in the 2004 speech.

These special guests are seated next to the First Lady during the course of the speech.


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