Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to By the Book bookstore in Liberty, MO, near Kansas City yesterday.
"We knew he was coming to town from rumors that travel around the bookstore, but we didn’t know he was coming here until some photographers came in and told us to get ready," says bookseller Krista Bartel, who was there. "My boss stopped doing his usual paperwork and we stood around and waited. There was no time to clean. We were in shock."
Biden hung out in the bookstore for about half an hour, answering questions about the economy and his and Barack Obama’s health insurance plan.
"He was very kind," Bartel says. "He tried to explain everything easily so it would make sense. He even took out a piece of paper and wrote some numbers down. He tried to explain John McCain’s position, too, but he didn't really explain too much. He said it wouldn't work. He kind of laughed at it."
What with all the explaining, Biden didn't have any time to browse through the books, let alone purchase any. He did consume a vanilla latte from the store's coffee bar. "He liked his latte," says Bartel. "I think someone else paid for it."
"He has more hair than he does on TV," Bartel continues, "but he looked better on TV than he does in person. I was more interested in the Secret Service than in him. They were all in suits with their little mics, running around."
Though Biden's appearance was good publicity for By the Book, it wasn’t so good for business, Bartel says. "There were some passerby because we kept the door open, but they stayed up front to listen. Most of the people were camera people and photographers."