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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: First Lady Michelle Obama (C) arrives to her seat prior to the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama said the focal point his speech is the central mission of our country, and his central focus as president, including "rebuilding an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama delivered his third State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
The political stakes of the speech could not be higher with the President unofficially kicking off his re-election campaign during the address.
While Mr. Obama focuses on the future direction of the country at the podium, First Lady Michelle Obama played host to a special group of invited guests who joined her in the audience.
The invitation to sit in the First Lady's Box is seen as a honor and is often times awarded to political friends. In some cases, the guest is part of the speech and will be acknowledged by the crowd during the president's address to Congress.
Among the guests at Tuesday evening's address was Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs.
The White House announced that the wife of the former Apple co-founder would be Mrs. Obama's guest just hours prior to the speech.
There was no mention of Steve Jobs in the release that announced Laurene would be among the guests of the First Lady. Instead it focused only on her charity work.
During the speech, Mr. Obama mentioned Steve Jobs during a portion that centered on innovation as a key to the economic future of the country. He said the country needs to support everyone who is willing to work. And he said that includes, "every risk taker or entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs."
Laurene Powell Jobs is the founder and chair of Emerson Collective, which helps under-served communities build better lives.
The White House did not say whether Mr. Obama would acknowledge Powell Jobs or her husband in his speech.
She might be in attendance as a courtesy to the Obamas. The President met with Steve Jobs on several occasions to get his input on how the government could help the economy, specifically in the area of technology.
Steve Jobs died from pancreatic cancer last October.
Below is the biography the White house released about Laurene Powell Jobs.
Laurene Powell Jobs
Palo Alto, California
Ms. Laurene Powell Jobs is founder and chair of Emerson Collective, an organization focused on harnessing the potential of individuals from underserved communities to help them build a better life.
Ms. Powell Jobs also serves as president of the board of College Track, an after-school program she founded in 1997 to prepare underserved high school students for success in college. Started in East Palo Alto, College Track has expanded to serve students in Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans and Aurora, Colorado. The program’s intensive academic and extracurricular program is designed to ensure admittance to and graduation from college. All of the program's graduates have completed their secondary education and gone on to college.
In addition to her work with the Emerson Collective and College Track, she serves on the boards of directors of NewSchools Venture Fund, New America Foundation and Conservation International. She also serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Powell Jobs holds a BA and a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Earlier in her career, she spent several years working in investment banking and later co-founded a natural foods company in California.