(GREENSBURG, Pa.) Joe Biden showed his more emotional side again today outside of Pittsburgh, when he told the story of how his sons became true Steelers fans.
Biden talks very openly about the car crash at Christmas time that killed his first wife and daughter back when he had just won a seat in the Senate, and today he nearly lost control of his emotions as he spoke several hundred supporters.
When his sons, Hunter and Beau, were in the hospital suffering from serious injuries, Biden left to go to the local K-Mart to buy a synthetic Christmas tree to put at their bedside.
"It was one of the few times I was away from their beds for a couple of hours, and I came back, and they looked like they had lighted up like Christmas trees," explained Biden.
"My one little boy was in traction, but other boy had a serious fractured skull, and, um, they were happy. They each separately had a football in their bed. And, uh…"
Biden then looked down and went speechless for eleven seconds, amidst complete quiet from the audience, until some crowd members started to clap and brought him back.
"And um…anyway, I said guys, where did you get the ball? And they said Rocky Bleier gave it to us."
Bleier was a Pittsburgh Steeler who served overseas during the Vietnam War. While Biden himself was a Philadelphia Eagles fan, his boys had chosen the Steelers because they liked the black and gold colors of the team uniforms. Biden called Bleier a man of decency for visiting his children, and tried to contain himself.
"Anyways, I apologize. I shouldn't have tried to do this," said Biden, clearing his throat.
When he regained himself, Biden spoke about Social Security and protecting seniors. He promised, as he has many times, that an Obama Biden administration would cut taxes, and would make it so no senior making less than $50,000 would pay a cent of taxes.
Biden insisted that John McCain and Sarah Palin were "proposing the largest tax increase on middle class taxpayers in American history," saying they planned to add the value of employer health care on top of total earned income, which Biden said would equal a trillion dollars in taxes.
Biden called it "an old conservative economic notion" and said "it's almost unbelievable."
He then made a direct appeal to John McCain. "John McCain, if I've misstated your position, if you're not going to tax health care benefits, please tell me."
Blair Latoff, an RNC spokeswoman, later released a statement responding to Biden's comments.
"In times of crisis, Americans have always been able to bridge our divides and solve our problems but apparently Barack Obama's running mate sees it as an opportunity for unfiltered partisanship and political opportunism," Latoff said. "John McCain suspended his campaign and is working with the nation's leaders to address this serious economic crisis and believes that it is more important to put his country before his political campaign."