Laughter, emotion and presidents at funeral of Biden’s mother

January 12, 2010

When it comes to showing support, bringing an entourage of people on a huge famous plane to the funeral of your friend’s mother says a lot. USA/

That’s what President Barack Obama did for his pal and vice president, Joe Biden, on Tuesday. Biden’s mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden, died on Friday at the family’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. She was 92.

The president, along with first lady Michelle Obama and a large cadre of Obama’s senior White House staff and Cabinet members, flew on Air Force One to attend her funeral in Delaware.

Biden, in his eulogy, expressed thanks to Obama for how he treated his mother, and said his mother thought very highly of Obama.

“Mr. President, I especially want to thank you for the way in which you treated my mom with such warmth and personal affection,” Biden said.  “It warmed my heart and it did hers as well.”

Biden described one of his mother’s favorite pictures on election night in Chicago in 2008 before they all walked on stage: “She has Barack — pardon (me), Mr. President, you were Barack then — Barack by her right arm and me in her left arm.”

As for former President Bill Clinton, who was also in the audience, Biden said: “President Clinton, she worried, she thought you were most like me. Or I was most like you.”

No further explanation on that one…

Biden, a Catholic,  also thanked Rev. Msgr. J. Thomas Cini who presided over the funeral.

“Thank God for the seal of the confessional,” Biden said, laughing. “You all know too much about us!”

Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, also drew some laughs when she came to the podium to deliver a eulogy and couldn’t find her notes.

“OK Mom, is this a joke?” she said  to laughter.  “She wouldn’t do this to Joey.”

Photo credit: Reuters/pool (Obama shakes hands with Biden during funeral of Biden’s mother)

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