Monday, August 13, 2012

Pool report from Danville on VP Biden talking football with HS students

Vice President Joe Biden paid the George Washington High School football team a surprise visit on Aug. 13 in Danville, Va. Danville is one of Biden?s stops while campaigning in Southside Virginia and will be speaking at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research on Tuesday.

Photos courtesy of Steven Mantilla, photojournalist at the Danville Register & Bee.

Danville, Va. VP stops at a football practice, where he is in his element.

Some good color and quotes, which you no doubt suspected. At 6:12pm motorcade arrived on the campus of George Washington High School, where VPOTUS made an unscheduled stop to give a pep talk to the school’s football team — the Eagles — during the team’s evening practice. As pool caught up with the VP, now in a different blue button down shirt and sporting sunglasses, he was in conversation with the team’s head coach, Bobby Martin, at the 20-yard line of an auxiliary field.

Biden’s body man Fran Person, who played football at the University of South Carolina (and who pooler thinks would be a great Paul Ryan stand-in for debate prep) joined the conversation. Difficult to make out much of the conversation, but sounded like he was telling some stories about his own playing days.

Relates to Martin his father’s expression — one of many — “When you get knocked down, get up!” Pushed against Martin for effect. Also could hear him say when he played in high school he weighed about 158 pounds, but with pads he clocked in at 175.

Just about this time Person tossed a perfect spiral to fellow scribe John Heilemann, who made an acrobatic, one-handed leaping grab. Pooler asked VPOTUS if he was ready to suit up and play.  “I’m ready to go!” he declared.

The team came in for a huddle, gathering around VP and Martin, along with Person and one of VP’s lead Secret Service agents. VPOTUS talked about how Person played in high school in PA and then for the University of South Carolina, starting as a defensive lineman for three seasons. “Helluva ballplayer.

“Then talked about the agent, who was first-team all state in Virginia playing at Mount Vernon, played in college for Clemson and professionally for the then-St. Louis Cardinals, as a punt returner and free safety. “He tells me you guys have had some great teams down here. “Not to be outdone, Biden adds: “I was a runner-up for my state scoring championship in little old Delaware. Ain’t much, you know. “Said that he came for one reason, to give them a break on a warm afternoon. “I was a running back. Half the time my nose was in that grass. You know what I mean?

“He asks the squad what kind of team they have this year. Many answer: “A great team.”

“When you’re playing for the state title you’ve got to invite me. Don’t pretend you don’t know me. “Asks if they’re practicing one a day or two a day. They say one a day, they’re back in school. “You started school already?!” he asked. “That’s un-American!” he jokes. “We’re going to have to do something about that. “Asks how many want to play football professionally, and many raise their hands. Pool is ushered away as VP continues to talk to the team. “Guys, I wish you a lotta luck,” we heard him say as we left. By 6:50 motorcade was rolling out, now at RON hotel. – Michael Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, National, Politics

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