Sen. Bob Casey gets effusive praise from VP and President

Allowing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania "would be a measure of progress," U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

SCRANTON - Without an introduction from the stage, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D.,Pa.) stepped into the gym at Lackawanna College Friday, preceding the president and vice president, and began shaking hands.

Cheers rose as the crowd recognized the hometown hero on sight.

Casey got big love from Vice President Biden, who spent part of his childhood here, and President Obama when the event began.

“By the way, there’s only three women that I know who are close to perfect.  One was perfect - the Blessed Mother.  The other was my mother, and the other is Bobby’s mom, Ellen Casey, right there,” Biden said, to applause.

“So a lot of you ask why I left Scranton when I was a kid -- I went to St. Paul’s and lived in North Washington,” the vice president continued. “It was simple.  I lived three and a half blocks from the Caseys, and I knew that only one of us was going to be able to make it big, and it wasn’t going to be me.  So I had to get out because I knew that Casey would dominate.”

And then, it was Obama’s turn to pay homage to his friendship with Pennsylvania’s senior senator.

“Now, Joe already talked about Bob Casey’s mom, who is gorgeous and wonderful, and we love her dearly - but I’ve got to admit Bob Casey is not bad either,” Obama said, drawing applause and laughter.

“Back in 2008, when we were campaigning in Pennsylvania and we were having a tough time and getting bad press, Bob Casey was right there with me -- on a train,” Obama said. “And you can judge your friends not by when you’re doing well, but when you’re having a tough time, and that’s the kind of person Bob Casey is.  And so I’m grateful for him.”