Who cares about the president of the United States when there's a star from "Duck Dynasty" around?
That was the vibe at Tuesday night's State of the Union address, where Willie Robertson stole a bit of the spotlight from Barack Obama — especially when it came to GOP lawmakers.
As Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) put it:
The outsized "Duck Dynasty" personality was the guest of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.). McAllister received endorsements from Willie and his father, Phil Robertson (whose anti-gay remarks recently sparked a huge controversy). The younger Robertson had been rumored to possibly run for that open seat, but ended up appearing in a campaign ad for McAllister instead.
Robertson proved to be a popular figure at the Capitol, with CNN reporter Dana Bash commenting on the "surreal and bizarre" scene of "a steady stream of congressmen" getting in line to take photos with the reality-TV star in the moments before everyone took their seats for Obama's speech.
"It's definitely something I've not seen in my many years covering this," Bash said.
Those politicians included Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina:
And Louisiana’s Sen. David Vitter:
And Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss.:
Robertson also posed for pics with this trio of representatives:
Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan stopped by the visitor gallery to introduce himself, while Sen. John McCain pointed him out to fellow Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Both waved at him (and Robertson waved back).
The "Duck Dynasty" star had a good time attending the State of the Union, telling reporters, "It was neat being here. It's cool to be here. Neat experience."
Asked what made him such a big draw (maybe even bigger than, you know, the president), Robertson was typically humble. "I don't know," he mused. "I think it's the beard."
See Willie's beard in action in this clip from "Duck Dynasty."