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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Interviews Vice President's Wife

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2010 – I’ve done a lot of interviews in my military and civilian careers, but I have to admit I had butterflies in my stomach when I first sat down for a one-on-one interview with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

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Family Matters blogger Elaine Wilson interviews Dr. Jill Biden in her home at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. DOD photo by Linda Hosek

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The setting -- her home at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. -- was starkly different from when we last chatted six months ago in Iraq, our body armor stacked in a corner of a hotel room and a stifling heat outside. We only talked for a minute then -- it had been a packed day -- but her passion for helping military families was evident in every word she spoke.

Since then, I had been eager to talk with her at length to find out why she’s so driven to help military families and to hear more about her son, Capt. Beau Biden of the Delaware Army National Guard.

Six months later, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with her once again.

The day was rainy and unseasonably cold for early December. Earlier, she had invited 50 Washington-area children – including 25 of the Guard and reserves -- into her home for a holiday party, and the half-eaten cookies and hot chocolate cups were still scattered around the house.

The Biden home was holiday eye candy, with a 12-foot Christmas tree towering over stately furniture in the living room, and garland and colorful bulbs adorning nearly every surface. The room we were sitting in, the solarium, was bright and cheerful despite the gloomy weather outside. The centerpiece was a “peace” tree covered in white dove figures and handmade paper red reindeer ornaments. Each reindeer had a wish for the year ahead written by young visitors to her home.

Dr. Biden had walked in a moment earlier and greeted me with a smile and a hug. The second lady, I’ve noticed over the past year, is an extremely warm person. When in Iraq, I noticed she greeted every troop she came across like a long-lost friend.

Greetings complete, we sat down together on a couch to talk. I asked Dr. Biden about her National Guard son, her passion for helping military families and her vision for the years ahead. (Listen to the interview.)  

And when we were done, and the recorder turned off, Dr. Biden continued to chat with me for a few minutes about how much she enjoyed having the children in her home around the holidays.

She gave me a hug, holiday best wishes and headed off to her next engagement.

And I headed back out into the cold, grateful for the experience.

To read more about my interview and Dr. Biden’s ongoing work in support of troops and their families, visit our American Forces Press Service Special Report: Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States.

To comment on this blog, or read other posts, visit the Family Matters website.

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Related Sites:
Photo Essay: Dr. Biden Hosts Holiday Event for Guard Children
Special Report: Dr. Jill Biden

Click photo for screen-resolution imageSanta arrives and adds excitement at a holiday party hosted by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, for 50 children at their home at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1, 2010. DOD photo by Linda Hosek  
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