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Energy secretary held from State of Union speech

January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — And the answer to the annual trivia contest about which Cabinet secretary would miss President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address is: Ernest Moniz.

Following tradition, the energy secretary instantly recognizable for his mane of long gray hair was held back Tuesday from Obama’s speech. The move is aimed at preserving government continuity in case of a catastrophe at the Capitol.

Practically all the highest federal officials attended the address, including Vice President Joe Biden, Congress’ top leaders and most of the Cabinet. The Senate Historical Office says keeping a Cabinet member at an undisclosed location began in the early 1960s, maybe earlier.

Moniz is 69 and a physicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became energy secretary last May.

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