Vice President and Dr. Biden flew to Bogota today (with their granddaughters) for a quick trip to the region. The first event they held - at VP Biden's request and not the embassy's - was a meet and greet for embassy families. Dr. Biden spoke first, followed by the Vice President.
I loved this guy before, but now I really love this guy. He was super charismatic, engaging, personal and funny.
First of all, he apologized over and over for coming in on a Sunday because as he sarcastically said, he was sure everybody wanted to dress up (and dress their children up) on a Sunday afternoon to see him. He then went on to thank all the employees who have done so much to further the work in Colombia and - most important and meaningful to me - he praised (and I mean really praised, like over the top praised) all the spouses who have given up great careers, left their homes and families to follow a spouse in his or her pursuit of government service, etc. Since he didn't have to say that bit, I think he really meant it. And I might have a teensy crush on him now just for saying it.
Because of a late move on my part before he came in, I ended up at the end of the rope line by the sound guys - really it was a terrible angle for his speech. But lucky for me, I ended up being the first person on the rope line that he came over to meet. Jimmy was going to take my picture with him but then Jimmy got pulled in and I threw the camera at somebody who took a couple snaps.
The other thing he apparently always does at embassy visits is take a photo with the children. They already had all the kids on a separate stage and then the Vice President and Dr. Biden went over right in the middle of them. They then stood up and shook hands, Mac's included (and I really hope Mac's hands were clean and he hadn't just wiped his nose), and told them they all deserved a present for coming out in their nice clothes on a Sunday afternoon. (That, by the way, is the only thing Mac remembered from everything that either of them said).
In 15 years of State Department life, this was the first meet and greet I've ever done with anybody (President, VP or Secretary of State) because Mac and I have always been away when they've come to visit, so this was pretty special all the way around.
|Mac is just behind the VP - I think he's holding the back of the VP's chair (he's in a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt)|
|Me, shaking the VP's hand. WOW!|
|Me, with my real love and my new crush|
(oh, and that super-serious Secret Service Agent in the background who photo-bombed my picture)
|Enthusiastically taking the stage|
|Vice President Biden giving his speech|
|Dr. Biden, Vice President Biden, and our Ambassador and his wife|
|The Vice President and Dr. Biden greeting all the children|
|One of the many DC- and Maryland-plated armored vehicles that were flown in for the visit|
|The VP's sweet ride|