Monday, November 5, 2012

VP Joe Biden surprises volunteers at Roanoke headquarters

Vice President Joe Biden carries out pizza from Benny Marconi’€™s pizzeria on Campbell Avenue SW in Roanoke, Virginia.

Vice President Joe Biden paid an unexpected visit to the Obama/Biden campaign headquarters in Roanoke Monday. He arrived carrying three large pizzas from Benny Marconi’s. “That’s the biggest box of pizza I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. Though they were already paid for he hands them a $20 bill.

“We are the pizza delivery boys,” he announced to the jam-packed room which erupted when he arrived. He was joined by Senator Mark Warner and Governor Tim Kaine and his wife Dr. Jill Biden.

“We’re down to literally the last hours here.” What’s needed is principled compromise as the country faces a fiscal cliff next year. President Obama is principled he said.

“We win [Virginia] we win this election. And equally important, Tim Kaine will be your next U.S. senator,” said Biden.

He is campaigning all over – “This is no malarkey. We genuinely feel good about the campaign. I’ve spent an awful lot of time in what they call the firewall – Ohio and Iowa and Wisconsin. We’re going to win all three of those states. We’re going to win Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado. We have a chance not just to win but actually to make a real statement about unifying this country.”

He said he, Warner and Kaine have been able to “walk across the aisle and work with the opposition. And I’m going to say something presumptuous. My career in the Senate, I got an awful lot done. And I think Mark would tell you I still have an awful lot of friends up there who are Republicans and Democrats. It’s been the hallmark of how the three of us have worked that’s why we get on so well together.”

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a group of about 75 volunteers and staffers at the Obama for America campaign office on Warehouse Row in Roanoke, Virginia.

“And when this election is over … we’ve got to come together in the same way I’ve watched the president bring everyone together in the aftermath of Sandy, the storm,” said Biden.

Biden talked about his mom’s expression that out of everything bad something good will come. “And I’m telling you, it reminded me of why I got involved in public life in the first place.” As a senator, Biden said he always worked with Republicans like former Virginia Republican Senator John Warner. He talked of help from “my governor,” Jack Markell, a Democrat, to Chris Christie, a Republican and mentioned Independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the list of public officials who endorsed the president.

“Americans have always done best when they’ve come together in a crisis. And I look at these last couple years, the last four years as sort of an aberration. Because I think the fever’s going to break here,” speaking of bipartisanship to get things done.

Praised Mark Warner for trying to bring Democrats and Republicans together on the fiscal cliff. He shared that Warner told him on the way to Roanoke about a comment from the Australian foreign minister. Warner then shared the line: “We’re one budget deal away from American preeminence for the next 25 years.”

Vice President Joe Biden is pictured at the Obama for America campaign office on Warehouse Row.

“And it’s true!” Biden said. “It’s literally true. It’s going to take principled compromise. That’s what the president is. He’s principled. It’s time to put this hard-edged ideology behind us.”

Virginia is so important as a “purple state,” he said. Supporters answerd back: “Blue!” Biden answers by standing on a chair. Virginia “represents every aspect of America. … The southwest is a lot different than suburban Washington. My point is, you’ve demonstrated we can come together.”

“I know I’m always characterized in the press as the White House optimist. Like I’m the new guy in town. As my grandfather would say, like I’m the guy who fell off the turnip truck. I am more optimistic about America’s chance in the world today than I have been my whole career,” said Biden.

You will make a gigantic statement. Virginia makes a gigantic statement. Ohio will make a gigantic statement. Florida – all tossup states. … They represent very different constituencies. The same with Colorado.”

Biden introduced candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine who jokes that, “I don’t trust my luck enough to stand up on that chair.”

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine (left) and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (right) carry out pizza from Benny Marconi’s pizzeria.

Governor Kaine thanked Biden and Obama, “We can thank them for a lot. But the thing I want to thank them for most especially is, you know, for a long time nobody took Virginia seriously in presidential politics, after LBJ’s win in ’64. Democrats didn’t take us seriously. Democrats didn’t come because why bother. Republicans didn’t come because they didn’t need to. We weren’t on the main stage in a presidential year. We were in the shadows. If you wanted to know what happened in a presidential election, you stayed up and figured out what was happening with hanging chads in Florida or some crazy secretary of state doing something in Ohio.”

He thanked the volunteers for their effort especially in the “brave new world” after Citizens United a Super PAC that pumped money into the state with negative ads against Kaine. These PACs don’t have “enough zeroes in the world” on a check to decide the outcome.

Biden wanted to shake everyone’s hand but there wasn’t enough time for individual photos like he usually does but did groups of 10-12 at a time.

He won over the group even more by saying the hardest thing a person can do is put themselves on the line for someone else, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. He hugged one older woman as he made his point, producing crowd “awws.”

In a bit of a wistful farewell at the end of the campaign, he refers to many local food stops he visited in the past few months. “I keep eating the stuff and you guys [pool reporters] never get to have any. So thanks-thanks guys. I tell ya- you know- it’s like you know: you go on a vacation and you come home and bring your kid a sweatshirt. ‘Is that all there is a sweatshirt?’ Pointing to  the pizza box sitting in the van – “All you get this time is a pizza- What the hell.”

PHOTOS by Kyle Greene

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, National, Politics

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