Last month, 108 year-old Women’s Army Corps veteran Lucy Coffey, America’s oldest living female World War II veteran (she’s three days younger than the oldest living vet, Richard Overton), realized a lifelong dream when she came to Washington, D.C. to visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Va. That visit also included a trip to the White House, where she met President Obama and the world’s most charismatic second banana, Vice President Joe Biden.
That meeting occurred on July 25, but on Tuesday, the White House released what it calls “raw video” of the encounter, which features the revelation that Lucy has a photo of President Obama on her bedroom wall, and several minutes of Fully Operational Death Star-level charm offensive from Biden:
Almost as priceless as Biden were Coffey’s totally ballin’ responses to the President’s effusive praises: “Thanks.”
Although it was released today, the video was shot on July 25, which, to give you some idea of the context of this meeting, was the same day that President Obama met with the presidents of the three Central American countries from which most of he unaccompanied minors are migrating to our borders for refuge from murder. At the height of political pressure from the now-forgotten immigration crisis, Obama and Biden gave Lucy Coffey the hero’s welcome she deserves.
Biden is a distant runner-up to Hillary Clinton in Real Clear Politics 2016 Democratic primary polling average, and he has his share of baggage, but when you look at a clip like that, you get the feeling that if ol’ Joe could just somehow manage to meet enough Americans face-to-face, he could totally pull it off.
Videos like this are emerging as a stealth asset for the White House, which has taken a lot of criticism over its packaging of photos and video, often bypassing independent journalists. In May, the President went for an impromptu walk from the White House to the Department of the Interior, and the accompanying YouTube video quickly racked up almost five million views, becoming the White house’s third most popular video. Only the President’s statement on the mass shooting in Newtown and his announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden have produced more views.
Four of the top ten White House videos feature personal interest clips like these, and as the President’s second term wears on, with stubbornly low approval ratings, they are a way for him to leverage his more durable personal likability with Americans. Joe Biden, the possible presidential hopeful, could also use a little bit of that.