- February 4, 1997
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It's that time of the year again, when one member of the Cabinet is called upon to skip the President's State of the Union address, just in case a terrorist group launches a strike at the Capitol in an effort to take out the whole top layer of the federal government.
This year's designated absentee is Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, eighth in the line of succession after the President, Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President pro tem, and four other Cabinet members.
One member of the Cabinet has stayed away from major state events since the middle of the Cold War. A gathering of the highest leadership would be a prime target for a surprise nuclear assault, doomsayers argued. The threat of terrorist attack remains, so the practice of designating a survivor continues.