Last summer, my friend Heather and I sat on the bench of a picnic table at Chautauqua Park's #2 Shelter, a place I'd been a million times for everything from my 2nd grade end-of-the-year picnic to my dad's 52nd surprise birthday party. We were there to hear Joe Biden. We're lucky in Iowa because we get to meet so many Presidential candidates first hand. That summer, everyone but Hillary had been in town, and Heather and I went to hear as many as we could. There weren't a lot who showed up to hear Biden... definitely not the carnival atmosphere of when we heard Obama earlier in the summer... but it was intimate. Joe Biden walked up and down that aisle between the 2 lines of picnic tables, and he really talked to us. He even commented on Heather's million watt smile (guess this is one time when a Crest Strip addiction gets you places... ha). He found out we were teachers, and when he had a comment about education, he spoke directly to us. But, the moment that stands out the most for me was when he spoke about Iraq. His own son will be going to Iraq later this year, and at that time, they'd just found out that it would be happening. Senator Biden got completely choked up when he spoke about our soldiers in Iraq. For those of you who don't know, Senator Biden heads up the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he knows his stuff. If anything, I was left that day hoping that he wouldn't get the nomination, because we need him too badly on that committee. I still feel that way to some extent, but I think he will balance the ticket really well. Here are the thoughts I have after meeting him in Fairfield last summer:
* Joe Biden has been in Washington long enough to understand how to play the game when he has to, but he's ballsy enough to take the game and shove it most of the time.
* Joe Biden says what he thinks. I'm pretty sure it gets him in trouble sometimes, but it's refreshing.
* Joe Biden needs a new haircut. But, I guess that makes it obvious that he's not spending $300 on one.
* Joe Biden understands and respects the enormity of the job.
* Joe Biden cares about people.
* Joe Biden likes people with white, white teeth. Damn. Gotta buy some of those White Strips.
* Joe Biden is really good at his job. He has the Foreign Relations experience that the Democratic ticket needs. I think his "old school" demeanor is a great balance to the vibe Barack Obama gives off. I think it's a great match.
4 years ago, Olivia Pearl Simpson was a baby on my lap as we bounced on the exercise ball in her room and watched the Republican National Convention. I'm a Democrat, but I have always believed that I can't run my mouth unless I try to walk in the shoes of the other guys too. Olivia and I watched John McCain speak. I remember thinking that if that man were ever to run for President, I would consider voting Republican. Now since then, he's become Pro-Life, and I have issues with that in itself and the fact that he could just switch his position out of nowhere, but I have to be honest when I say I haven't made my mind up yet. I never vote strictly by party lines... I vote by issues. It just happens that 95%of the time, that's Democrat. I have a lot of research to do before November before I decide who will get my vote.