A Washington Post profile of Vice President Joe Biden calls him the Obama administration's "traveling everyman," and he's got a simple strategy to connect with every man (and woman) in the far-flung parts of America he visits: He'll figure out how he's related to them.
Biden's basic family tree has been available online for years courtesy of the late genealogist William Addams Reitweisner. But he's digging deeper in an attempt to make more connections, seeking out a genealogist with the Mormon church, James W. Petty, for help. Petty tells the Post's Jason Horowitz how Biden wanted to put his distant relations to work, politically: “I said, part joking, part serious, ‘It’s good for a politician because you can build on this culture, and this culture, and this culture. You can become a favorite son in three or more cultures.’ And he said, ‘I want to approach more people.’ He understood that all of this would affect how he connected with people.”
Given enough time, Biden hopes to connect with everyone, starting with the United Auto Workers in Toledo on Thursday. His father sold cars in Wilmington in the 1950s, a point he's fond of stressing when dealing with the automotive types. Next, Biden has to find a relative from every other region and industry in the country, which he seems to be working hard to do so.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.