Friday, August 29, 2014
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Voices from Biden's hometown

Brittany Talarico reports:

Voices from Biden's hometown

Joe Pacello´s barber shop, The Men´s Room, along Route 52 in Greenville, Del., is a well-known local gossip center.  Joe Biden has been coming there for 30 years, said Pacello.<br />
Joe Pacello's barber shop, The Men's Room, along Route 52 in Greenville, Del., is a well-known local gossip center. Joe Biden has been coming there for 30 years, said Pacello. Brittany Talarico

Brittany Talarico reports:

11:50 a.m.

In the Greenville Center, a shopping plaza along Route 52, Biden's barber didn't want to talk politics; he just wanted to talk about "Joe."

Turns out he just cut Biden's hair on Friday. And, as usual, they didn't talk politics then, either.

"Joe has been coming here for over 30 years," said Joe Pacello, 66, of Newark, Del., owner of The Men's Room, reknowned as a local gossip spot. "He has a phenomenal memory for names and remembers all the people he comes in contact with."

Pacello allowed that "our conversation here is not necessarily politically correct. Everyone, pardon the pun, lets their hair down."  A sign next to his mirror, given to him by another customer, reads  "Home of the Joe Biden haircut, where the cost is under $400" -- a dig at John Edwards' famous snip. When Biden saw it, he reportedly laughed.  

Pacello declined to say who he would vote for, but he nevertheless said Biden, if elected, would "do a good job ... all you have to do is look at how long he's been in office."

In the chair at the moment was the impeccable Al Santoro, 73, a musician who performed "Stardust" and other songs at Joe Biden's father's funeral service. (Pacello was a member of his band, The Highlighters, until only recently, although he still occasionally fills in.)

Biden "is like one of the guys," Santoro said. "We don't look at him as anyone special."

Then he paused and laughed. Clearly, they do.

Greenville is a Republican stronghold in a Democratic county and a Democratic state. So, not surprisingly, lawns have a lot of McCain-Palin signs as well as Obama-Biden.

"In Greenville you have the pretty-rich people who will be conservative and vote for McCain, and other Biden supporters who will vote for Obama," said Tim Brock, 23, of Newark, a cross-country coach at The Tatnall School. He was visiting a local running store and said he voted for McCain.

Not far away from the barber's, at a bakery Biden frequents, Pure Bread, a group of regulars sitting down for their usual coffee and breakfast criticized Biden's policies and said his being a local resident wouldn't sway their votes.  

However, the manager, Susan Parker, said the state was firmly behind the candidate. "There would be something terribly wrong if Biden doesn't win Delaware."

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Thomas FitzgeraldThomas Fitzgerald joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000, and has covered Harrisburg as well as city, state and national politics for the newspaper. He was a “boy on the bus” in the 2004 presidential campaign and during primary contests in 2000 and 1996.

Nathan Gorenstein has covered politics and government in the city, state and nation for the Inquirer. He's worked in the city hall bureau, had a stint on the business desk, and once covered the suburbs. After serving as assistant regional editor, he was named editor of the "Politics" web site.

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