Local woman reflects on meeting Joe Biden

Posted 5/22/19

Cradling her autographed copy of former Vice President Joe Biden’s book, “Promise Me, Dad,” Cleveland resident Tanna Davis recounted the day she was invited to meet the current presidential …

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Local woman reflects on meeting Joe Biden


Cradling her autographed copy of former Vice President Joe Biden’s book, “Promise Me, Dad,” Cleveland resident Tanna Davis recounted the day she was invited to meet the current presidential candidate two years ago.

At the invitation of a friend, Davis attended a speech given by the longtime politician in Schenectady, N.Y.

“I just love Joe Biden,” Davis said. 

Davis is retired from WTVC NewsChannel 9 in Chattanooga, where she worked as an advertising representative.

Biden said her friend, who is a former Cleveland resident, called to inform her that Biden was visiting her town to speak at Proctor's Theater, where she worked.

“She said, ‘Guess what? You are going to be so excited! Joe Biden is coming to my theater in Schenectady!’” Davis’ friend told her.

Davis, a Polk County native, said she was “born a Democrat,” and was determined to meet the former vice president and United States senator.

“I’ve always been progressive-minded,” Davis said of her political leanings.

Davis said Biden, who was introduced by his daughter Ashley, shared stories about his family, as well as his life in public service.

In addition, he discussed his late son, Beau, and how he begged his father to stay engaged in public service, which prompted the name of his book.

Davis said the former vice president was “warm and engaging” for someone who has endured so much heartbreak.

Biden discussed his son Beau's illness and mentioned that he has worn his Rosary around his wrist since his son’s death. Beau Biden died from a brain tumor in 2015.

During his speech prior to the meet and greet, Davis said Biden spoke about his work with the Biden Cancer Initiative, which is working to help cure cancer.

"Joe Biden has been working on getting a cure for cancer, and he thinks the cure is in our reach, as Joe says, ‘there is nothing we can’t achieve as Americans if we put our minds to it,’” Davis said.

He also discussed his love for his family. 

“Family means everything to this man,” Davis said, noting that Biden lost his first wife and infant daughter in a car accident, shortly after he was elected to the United States Senate in 1972. Biden’s two young sons were also in the car, but survived.

Biden married his second wife — Jill — in 1977. Their daughter Ashley was born in 1981.

After the speech, Davis was able to attend a meet and greet, meeting Biden.

“I was so excited. I was just like a little kid,” Davis said. “He was so warm and genteel, and, yes, he gave me a hug, and I welcomed it,” referring to the recent controversy regarding Biden’s tendency to give reportedly unwelcome embraces.

She also said that he shook her hand and asked where she was from.

“When I said Tennessee, he said he had visited the state a few weeks earlier. I was so star-struck, I don’t really remember what he said. I think he mentioned the Tennessee River or TVA, but I don’t remember,” she said laughing at the memory. “He is touchy-feely. That’s just how he is.”

She said Biden spoke with everyone at the meet and greet, stopping to ask them about their lives.

“I watched him go through the line, and he had something personal to say to everybody,” Davis said.

Davis said she admired Biden for his “honesty and integrity.”

“He is genuine,” Davis said. “You don’t see that very often.”

Of course, Davis thinks Biden would make a marvelous president, although she understands voters in Tennessee, especially Cleveland and Bradley County, are strong supporters of President Trump.

Her support for the Democratic Party has earned criticism from family and friends, but she stands up for herself and the party that has passed programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

“A friend of mine, a Republican, was really downing the Democratic Party one day and I said, ‘Well, the best thing I can say is if you go to your mailbox and you get a Social Security check and you keep it … thank a Democrat.’”

“She just looked at me,” Davis chuckled.


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