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Mark Kirk Seat Empty At State Of The Union Address

Mark Kirk

01/24/12 01:27 PM ET   AP

WASHINGTON -- A Democratic senator who planned to sit with a Republican for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address says he will keep the seat empty in honor of his ailing colleague.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk suffered a stroke this past weekend and underwent surgery Sunday night. He is in intensive care at a Chicago hospital and doctors say he could lose full use of his left arm and experience facial paralysis.

In a statement, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said the two were planning to sit together for Tuesday night's speech in a show of bipartisanship. Instead, Manchin will keep the seat empty in Kirk's honor.

Manchin called Kirk the kind of leader who will reach across the aisle to put country first.

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Filed by Katy Hall  |