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Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history Wednesday night, when, for the first time, two women shared the stage with the president when he addresses a Joint Session of Congress.
President Joe Biden delivered his first prime-time speech to a joint session and will be flanked by Pelosi and Harris, two California Democrats, who will appear behind him in the TV frame as he speaks.
'About time,' he whispered to the two women when he joined them on the House rostrum, his words picked up by the microphones.
He began his speech with: 'Madame Speaker. Madame Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.'
The chamber burst into applause at his words.
Harris down played the historic occasion.
'Normal,' she told reporters in the Capitol as she walked to the House chamber, when asked the significance of two women seated behind the president.
Pelosi was more enthusiastic.
'It's pretty exciting, and it's wonderful to make history. It's about time,' Pelosi told MSNBC earlier in the day.
Pelosi has been on the dais before. In 2007, she made history as the first woman to sit there - a fact then President George W. Bush noted during his State of the Union address. Bush said he had the 'distinct honor' of saying for the first time 'Madame Speaker.'
She also sat at the rostrum for speeches by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Pelosi, 81, made history by becoming the first female House speaker during Bush's presidency. She reclaimed the powerful leadership post during Trump's presidency and sat behind him during his final two speeches to Congress, famously ripping up her copy of Trump's remarks in 2020 as cameras continued to roll after he was finished addressing lawmakers.
Harris, 56, made history last year when she became the first woman and first Black and Indian American person elected vice president. In her role as president of the Senate, she joins Pelosi to preside over the joint session of Congress.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi clasped hands to greet one another