SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden stopped by the local firehouse Tuesday and invited firefighters to visit him in Washington.
No joke, he said.
Except “joke” wasn’t the word he used.
After attending a memorial service for Flight 93, which crashed nearby during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Biden made an unannounced stop at the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department. While there, he insisted an aide would call deputy fire chief Brad Shober to arrange a White House visit for the firefighters.
Biden used salty language to indicate he wasn’t kidding, then did a do-over when he noticed reporters noticing him.
“I didn’t know you guys were here,” he said.
Biden issued the invite again using cleaner language.
“This is no malarkey,” he said. “You come to the White House. I’ll buy you a beer.”
Biden suggested the firefighters should book a trip after the Nov. 6 election.
“Win, lose or draw, I’m still going to be vice president in January,” he said. “I give you my word. I’m not just saying it.”
Biden has developed a reputation for off-script moments. When President Barack Obama signed Democrats’ health care overhaul into law in 2010, a live microphone captured Biden using an expletive to describe its significance.
Even during small talk, Biden’s blue-collar roots come through.
When asked what his wife thinks of his diet on the campaign trail, Biden said she doesn’t approve.
“She’s going to say, ‘Joe, what the hell are you doing?’” he said.