Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Busy Week for the Vice President

When he wasn't predicting (to a group of wound-up San Francisco 49er fans --- in San Francisco) that the New York Giants were going to the Super Bowl, or fighting wild fires in Reno, the VP still made time to visit wounded warriors and their families at Camp Pendleton.

Our pool report comes from Elaine Sanchez, American Forces Press Service who informs us that:

Biden, along with the second lady, Dr. Jill Biden, visited the 30,000-square-foot center opened in October 2011 to provide counseling, reconditioning and transitioning services for wounded and ill Marines, sailors and their families. The vice president said he and his wife visit service members and their families at every chance they get for one reason: “to say thank you.”

“We only have one sacred obligation in the government,” he said. “We have a lot of obligations to the old, to the young, to educate, but we have only one sacred obligation and that is to equip those we send to war and care for those we bring home from war. It is the single most significant obligation the United States of America has."

Biden added, "This generation of warriors is the finest generation of warriors the world has ever seen, he noted. Biden said he’s been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq -- “not like you,” he said, addressing a wounded Marine in front of him -- but 23 times. More than 2 miliion warriors since 9/11 have “strapped on a helmet … put your boots on that sand and climbed into those mountains.”“It’s just astounding, astounding what you do,” he said. “It takes my breath away.” You guys are amazing -- absolutely, positively amazing.”

Biden also acknowledged the family members in the room, quoting English poet John Milton: “They also serve who only stand and wait.” Biden recalled when his son, Beau, was deployed to Iraq in 2008, He said he’d come in every morning and see his wife in the kitchen with a cup of coffee standing over the sink. “I could see her lips moving,” he said, “She’d say a prayer every single morning. The same prayer. “Biden told the wounded warriors “phenomenal” advances and breakthroughs were on the horizon. He alluded to technology that would enable doctors to connect the nervous system to a prosthesis, enabling wounded warriors the same mobiilty as before their injury.“There is real hope,” he said, “and there’s an absolute, positive commitment this country has made and we are going to keep.”

Biden concluded by telling the warriors, “We owe you. We owe you guys more than anybody could ever be able to repay you.”

Biden then began mingling with the wounded warriors and their families as Dr. Biden did the same in another part of the room. The vice president sat on a couch next to wounded warrior Marine Corps Sgt. Eric Rodriquez, his wife,Tanya Rodriquez, and their daughter, 3-year-old Camilla.

Biden also chatted with Camilla and her parents for a few minutes before he moved on to greet a double amputee seated in a wheelchair nearby. Marine Corps Sgt. James Amos was injured in Afghanistan on June 6, 2011. The vice president, Amos said, thanked him for his service and sacrifice. Biden also visited with a veteran of a past war. He knelt down in front of Thomas Marino, seated in a wheelchair, and asked him about his service in World War II, as his son, Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. David Marino and his wife, Laura Marino, stood close by.

Biden then donned a Semper Fi cap as he and his wife continued to talk to more families.

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