Two summers ago, I had the privilege of spending a day tailing Joe Biden around Washington, D.C. The day started around 5:30 a.m at WHYY studio in Wilmington and by mid-afternoon, after hours of hovering around Joe like a gnat with a tape recorder, I was spent.
Joe, meanwhile, was a whirlwind. The Senate wasn’t in session, but his day was booked solid with interviews (CBS and WHYY came calling that day), meetings and numerous speaking engagements. He was rushed around by his staff, which kept to his schedule by the millisecond. I could barely keep up with the guy.
My running thought that day: “Where in the world does this dude get the energy?”
Joe was running for president at the time, and his passion and breadth of knowledge—especially in world affairs—shone through in spades. While we waited together for the Acela train to D.C., Joe broke down his five-point plan for restoring order in Iraq. Between sentences, he shook hands and chatted with his admirers—cops and Amtrak employees and street sweepers. It spoke in a real neat way to Joe’s versatility. Here was a guy, who many considered too much of a slick Washington insider to be president, rapping about Jihadists and Shiites one moment, and high-fiving the blue-collar crowd the next.
The entire day went as such. He had many people to speak with, people way more important than me (Afghani president Hamid Karzai, Senator Barbara Boxer’s daughter Nicole and even singer Carole King wanted some of Joe’s time) yet he always took a few moments to explain to me what was going on. When I got some one-on-one time with Joe in his Washington office, I was tickled by the fact that he still tacked his press clippings, including a few from Delaware Today, up on the wall.
Long story short, I went home that day exhausted, and with a greater appreciation for our six-term senator. He knew his stuff inside and out. He was the ultimate diplomat, the ultimate pundit and the ultimate schmoozer. When Senator Obama this weekend said simply, “Joe Biden gets it”—I had to agree.
In late 2006 Joe seemed like a long shot to make the White House. I guess until a couple weeks ago, he still was.
What a neat feeling then for Delaware that our guy (and c’mon, every Delawarean has at least one Biden story) might be vice president. It will be a fun couple of months as our little state gets to puff out its chest and watch Joe battle for the White House.
At least until the McCain campaign unearths Joe’s secret stash of Red Bull. I still don’t know where he gets the energy.
Click here for Amis’ Delaware Today cover story on Biden.