I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Joe Biden’s already been here

1 of 3

D.G. Martin

19-05-1 Biden with Chris.JPG
19-05-1 Biden visit with child.jpeg

Sunday, May 12, 2019

When are the 20-plus Democratic presidential candidates going to come to North Carolina?

We are suffering from their absence as they concentrate on the early primary and caucus states. “Suffering” is my term. Others may count their absence as a blessing.

Joe Biden has already been here, as I explained in an earlier column I wrote in 2008 when Biden became Barack Obama’s choice for running mate.

Here is the gist of what I wrote back then.

I am responsible, at least in part, for one of Biden’s early political visits to our state more than 30 years ago.

Back in 1986, I was the Democratic candidate for Congress in a district that had been represented by Republicans for many years. The race was close. Lots of senators and members of Congress came to campaign with me. I loved hobnobbing with famous political personages like Jim Wright, Claude Pepper and Charles Rangel — and future presidential candidates Bill Bradley, Dick Gephardt and Gary Hart. But these visits often drove our campaign volunteers crazy trying to figure out how to readjust our schedule, develop an “appropriate” program for the visitor, and gather respectable crowds to greet them.

One of these visitors was Joe Biden. His staff gave our campaign scheduler Marcia Webster only a day or two to prepare. She called some of the loyal supporters who never said “no” even to the most challenging requests.

One of these, Brenda Barger, remembers that she and her husband Hugh hosted a small group at their farm near Davidson. Davidson mayor Russell Knox and College Union director Shaw Smith came to meet Biden and hear him tell about a run for president some day.

Amy Steele, whose ability to organize campaign operations was unexcelled, took on the task of gathering a group of supporters to meet Biden in Statesville. She got a young couple, David and Sally Parker, to host an event.

But, as Sally Parker remembers now, they had planned a trip with their children that day to Carowinds in Charlotte, leaving Amy and her crew to prepare. Sally says, “Amy had a magic wand.” When the Parkers returned and Biden arrived, their home and garden were full of fresh flowers and a big crowd.

Biden was charmed. So were the Parkers. Sally remembers being impressed with Biden’s speech. “Except,” she told me, “although everybody wore big red buttons that said ‘DG’ he kept calling you ‘DJ.’”

Later, Sally quizzed Biden about his views on capital punishment. She remembers his thoughtful listening and response to her concerns. Biden was a hit with the Parkers. Amy and David got Sally to pose for a photo sitting on Biden’s knee to remember his visit.

Our campaign manager Henry Doss remembers Biden’s visit to campaign headquarters where Elizabeth, Doss’s five-year-old daughter, was visiting and drawing a picture of a red dog. She told Biden a story about that dog. “For that moment,” Doss recalls, “he was really interested in what Elizabeth was telling him and giving her his full attention. I think one of Biden's greatest strengths is his ability to engage from moment to moment. This builds on his authenticity. He is what he is, and that's what makes him powerful. I've always been in awe of his grasp of world affairs, and his comfort level around power. But his encounter with Elizabeth illustrates his rare ability and desire to connect with people. Maybe he even learned something about the red dog.”

When Biden comes back to our state to campaign he will find some North Carolinians who still remember him well.

D.G. Martin is a retired lawyer, politician and university administrator and is host of UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch” at 11 a.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. Tuesdays.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 23, 2019


Watermelon Festival

The 34th annual Winterville Watermelon Festival continues today-Sunday in downtown Winterville. The event will include carnival rides, a parade, a watermelon-eating contest and live music and entertainment. The Watermelon Jam concert, a ticketed event, will begin at 6 p.m.…


August 21, 2019

Q I recently was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and given medication. Are there any lifestyle changes I can make that will be helpful? I hate taking medicine. — GW, Greenville

A I asked Derek Schaap, a Brody medical student to answer your question. Here is what he wants…


August 21, 2019

When hurricanes or other natural disasters impact communities, it disrupts life in many ways. For those with chronic conditions, navigating these disruptions means preparing for the worst and having an excess of the life-saving medication they depend on.

Dr. Bryan Kitch, medical director of…

Prescriptions 2.jpg

August 18, 2019

I am quitting TV journalism. From now on, I'm getting my news from the papers. I have been thinking about it for a long time, but I finally decided when a friend of mine told me his story:

I was watching Nicole Wallace one afternoon as she preached about the imminent collapse of democracy as we…


August 16, 2019


Jazz fundraiser

The Churches Outreach Network will present an Evening of Jazz fundraiser from 6:30-9 p.m. today at Yankee Hall Plantation, 3332 Yankee Hall Road. The event, which will celebrate 11 years of service by CON, will include a three-course meal and a live jazz ensemble. Tickets are…


August 14, 2019

Q: I decided to try to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Standing in front of the olive oil section I couldn’t figure out what to buy. Can you help? KP, Farmville

A: You share the same dilemma with many of us. On a recent trip to Boston I went into a great market that had an entire…


August 11, 2019

Before she graduated from high school, Ghita Harris worked as a medical research assistant in the ECU School of Medicine, an opportunity that would have seemed to have put her on the fast track to becoming a physician. But more than two decades later, her journey has just begun.

The Greenville…


August 11, 2019

Over 50 years ago, I had a Swedish girlfriend.

It never turned into anything long-term. But the fact that I met the Swedish girl before I met the girl I ended up marrying clearly introduced several complications into both relationships. And it has produced a tale that my wife Ruthie has never tired…


August 10, 2019


Relay fundraiser

Relay for Life Pitt County will host its annual Purple Ribbon Charity Dinner and Silent Auction from 7-11 p.m. today at The Cotton Barn, 942 Laurie Ellis Road, Winterville. The theme is “Eat, Drink, and be Charitable.” Tickets are $50 each or $75 per couple. Visit…

August 09, 2019


Play festival

Magnolia Arts Center, 1703 E. 14th St., will host the annual 10-minute Play Festival performance at 7:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $10. Visit magnoliaartscenter.com.

Music in the Park

Grimesland’s monthly Music in the Park series continues at 6:30 p.m. today at Grimesland…

124 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 13
        Next Page»   Last Page»