SPRINGFIELD -- The last time President Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress, he was heckled by a Republican who won his 15-minutes of political fame for yelling, "You lie."

But often lost in the hubbub over U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's two-word outburst during Obama's September health care address was another congressman's decision to walk out before the president had finished speaking.

At the time, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus said the Collinsville Republican was "frustrated that the president was not offering any new ground."

With Obama poised to deliver his State of the State speech Wednesday night, a Shimkus spokesman says the congressman is not planning another early exit.

"He wasn't planning to do that either. That just happened on the spur of the moment. That wasn't the plan," spokesman Doug Bugger said.

Bugger said Shimkus is hoping Obama announces a plan to freeze some federal spending.

"He thinks that would be a very positive step," Bugger said.

Shimkus, who is serving his seventh term in Congress, is facing his first primary election challenge on Feb. 2 since taking office in 1997.

Veterinarian Mike Firsching of Moro says he believes Shimkus is a rank-and-file lawmaker who waits for direction from party leaders before taking a stand on issues.

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