Capitol Alert

Joe Biden talks with vets in Oakland, then orders grilled cheese in S.F.

Vice President Joe Biden, left, speaks with Lauren Gonzales, a veteran and a student in a Pacific Gas & Electric’s Power Pathway program, during a workforce development event at a PG&E service center in Oakland on Friday.
Vice President Joe Biden, left, speaks with Lauren Gonzales, a veteran and a student in a Pacific Gas & Electric’s Power Pathway program, during a workforce development event at a PG&E service center in Oakland on Friday. AP

Vice President Joe Biden, at a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. services center in Oakland, told students in the utility’s workforce development program Friday that the resurgent U.S. economy is helping military veterans like them return home to good-paying jobs.

“The good news, ladies and gentlemen, is that America is back,” Biden told 15 students in PG&E’s job-training program, who together represent every branch of the U.S. military.

“Raise your hand if you think China is going to eat our lunch,” Biden instructed the students, adding that he wants China to prosper, but believes its infrastructure issues are holding it back.

None of the students raised their hands.

“Your kids are not going to hear about outsourcing,” Biden said. “It’s about in-sourcing.”

After the roundtable, Biden gave a speech to utility staff and dignitaries, ignoring a question shouted at him about the $1.6 billion penalty levied against PG&E for causing the 2010 deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno. PG&E has said it will not appeal.

The vice president arrived in the Bay Area on Thursday to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Biden’s visit comes amid a resurgent effort urging him to run for president next year, providing a challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is expected to announce her candidacy Sunday.

After the PG&E stop, Biden headed to lunch in San Francisco, where crowds gathered along Front and Sacramento streets downtown as the motorcade arrived at The Melt, a grilled-cheese shop. Biden, greeted by owner Jon Kaplan, ordered the classic grilled cheese with a side of tomato soup. Accommodating the clerk’s request, he donated $5 to a local school gardening program. He contemplated ordering a favorite dessert.

Said Biden: “I may be back for some ice cream.”

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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