AP NEWS

Biden’s Scranton Visit Stirs 2020 Speculation

April 5, 2019

SCRANTON — Presidents know all about keeping secrets, and presumed presidential hopeful Joe Biden showed off his sneakiness Thursday in his boyhood hometown. With his announcement of another White House bid drawing closer, the former vice president slipped into Scranton to record video, perhaps for something related to his campaign kickoff. Biden stopped at his family’s former home on North Washington Avenue where he and a camera crew visited with its owner. He walked near the home as a camera recorded his steps. One neighbor sitting in his home near Biden’s former home saw a crowd gathered on his sidewalk and went outside. “I walked out and looked over and there he was,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be named. “I said hello and he said, ‘How you doing?’” Another neighbor, who also spoke to Biden but did not want to be identified, said the former vice president also visited the Green Ridge Little League, in which he once participated. Known as a youth for attention-getting antics and never one to shy away from cameras, Biden and his staff did not notify local media about the visit. His crew was seen later seven blocks away at the Green Ridge home of Virginia McGregor, a fundraiser and friend of former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Efforts to reach McGregor were unsuccessful. Biden’s stop happened almost three weeks after a Democratic campaign commercial producer, Mark Putnam, who works for him, visited the city’s Green Ridge neighborhood. Putnam also visited Biden’s former homestead and other local sites to get a feel for where Biden spent his early childhood years, local resident Tom Bell, Biden’s childhood friend, said at the time. Bell said Thursday he was unaware of Biden’s visit. Biden, 76 and a Democrat, spent the first 10 years of his life in Scranton before his family moved to Delaware where he grew up and became one of the state’s longest-serving U.S. senators. He has returned regularly for decades before and after he was a senator and vice president. Before Thursday, his most recent visit took place on Nov. 4, when he campaigned for the re-election of two Democrats, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright and Sen. Bob Casey, at Pittston Area High School in Yatesville. During the same visit, he swung by Regional Hospital in Scranton to visit a friend, federal Judge Richard P. Conaboy, who had suffered a heart attack. Contact the writer: bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9147 @BorysBlogTT