The Washington Post

In Delaware, Vice President Biden’s influence looms large

WILMINGTON, Del. -- President Obama has plenty of influential folks from Delaware working for him, including Vice President Biden and White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer. So it's no surprise the president decided to stop off at the Charcoal Pit, a legendary restaurant just north of Wilmington, Del. on Thursday.

Known for its burgers and sundaes. Obama shook hands and mingled with many of the diners, stopping at one point to pick up seven-month old Jaidyn Oates, and pose for a photo. He invoked  Biden’s name multiple times, noting to some diners, “Me and Joe, we share shakes all the time,” and to others, “Biden told me the burgers are pretty good.”

President Obama has lunch with Tanei Benjamin at the Charcoal Pit Restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware July 17, 2014. Last year, Benjamin wrote Obama a letter about her struggles as a single working mother. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

After chatting with diners for about 10 minutes Obama declared, “I’m starving!” He sat down to eat with Tanei Benjamin, who wrote the president  a year ago about the challenges she faces as a single, working mother. After initially ordering a cheeseburger, the president opted for a 4-ounce “Pit special,”  which is burger with fries.

The stop was one in a series of meetings Obama is holding across the country with men and women who have written him letters; the president reads 10 of them every night.

Benjamin, whose daughter  is now six years-old, sat alone in a booth with the president for nearly 30 minutes. After reading her story in July 2013, according to a White House official, Obama sent her letter to his senior staff with a note at the bottom.

The president wrote: “This is the person we are working for.”






Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.



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