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Obama's Super Bowl Guest List: A Primer

President Obama will have four senators and 11 House members over to the White House for a Super Bowl party Sunday.

It's worth saying up front that sometimes a Super Bowl party is just a Super Bowl party.

Still, the White House provided the list of attendees to reporters, and Obama aides (including Bill Burton who

) seem to be talking up the affair as another gesture of cross-party outreach. (A rundown of past efforts is here.) So here's a quick rundown of who's coming by for the big game.

From Pennsylvania:
Sens. Bob Casey (D) – a major Obama supporter during the presidential campaign – and Arlen Specter (R) will both be there. Casey is reportedly bringing those ubiquitous yellow "terrible towels."

From the House side, Reps. Charlie Dent (R), Patrick Murphy (D) and Mike Doyle (D) will be in attendance.

Doyle is Pittsburgh's representative, but Murphy is definitely from Eagles territory just outside of Philadelphia and Dent is a professed Eagles fan as well. (More here on the Pennsylvania contingent.)

From Arizona:
Two of Arizona's eight representatives will be at the White House: Republican Trent Franks and Democrat Raul Grijalva.

Conspicuously absent will be the state's Republican Senators, John McCain (too soon, perhaps?) and Jon Kyl. MSNBC reports that McCain, at least, was invited. Kyl's office said only that he was planning to watch with family.

Maybe they were offended that Mr. Obama said he is siding with the Steelers.

Everybody else:
This is where it gets interesting.

Why – out of 100 senators and 435 house members (minus a few vacancies) – were the following people invited: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)?


Durbin is a friend and mentor to Mr. Obama.

Klobuchar was a campaign supporter.

Cummings was Mr. Obama's Maryland campaign chair – an early supporter who backed Mr. Obama when other prominent African-Americans were siding with Hillary Clinton.

Similar story on Davis. He overlapped with Mr. Obama at Harvard Law School, backed him during the campaign and was reportedly considered for a job in Mr. Obama's administration. Plus he's a Democrat from deep-red Alabama.

DeLauro was yet another campaign backer who was on the cabinet short-list.

Holmes-Norton is a neighbor and is, after all, Mr. Obama's Congressional representative now that he lives in our nation's capital. (Though she doesn't really get to vote, which remains a sticky subject in D.C.)

Hodes spokesman Mark Bergman told the Associated Press that the congressman is "not sure why he made the list." Perhaps because he was the first representative or senator from any of the early primary states to endorse any of the presidential candidates, and he happened to pick then-underdog Obama. That's gotta be worth a Super Bowl party invite.

And Upton is a centrist Republican who used to have regular dinners with a bipartisan group including White House Chief of Staff (then Rep.) Rahm Emanuel and said he is "encouraged" by Mr. Obama's push for bipartisan harmony.

Then again, maybe a Super Bowl party is just a Super Bowl party.

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