A Washington Post profile of Vice President Joe Biden calls him the Obama administration's "traveling everyman," and he's got a simple strategy to connect with every man (and woman) in the far-flung parts of America he visits: He'll figure out how he's related to them.
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Biden's basic family tree has been available online for years courtesy of the late genealogist William Addams Reitweisner. But he's digging deeper in an attempt to make more connections, seeking out a genealogist with the Mormon church, James W. Petty, for help. Petty tells the Post's Jason Horowitz how Biden wanted to put his distant relations to work, politically: “I said, part joking, part serious, ‘It’s good for a politician because you can build on this culture, and this culture, and this culture. You can become a favorite son in three or more cultures.’ And he said, ‘I want to approach more people.’ He understood that all of this would affect how he connected with people.”
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Given enough time, Biden hopes to connect with everyone, starting with the United Auto Workers in Toledo on Thursday. His father sold cars in Wilmington in the 1950s, a point he's fond of stressing when dealing with the automotive types. Next, Biden has to find a relative from every other region and industry in the country, which he seems to be working hard to do so.