Joe Biden may be the first presidential or vice presidential nominee ever of a major party to have been a daily Amtrak commuter.
The Delaware Democrat commutes daily on Amtak between Wilmington’s train station and Washington’s Union Station, a trip that usually takes no more than 90 minutes each way. His running mate, Barack Obama, referred to the commute during the duo’s Saturday appearance, describing Mr. Biden as a “scrappy kid from Scranton who beat the odds, the dedicated family man and committed Catholic who knows every conductor on that Amtrak train to Wilmington.”
Mr. Biden entered the Senate after his 1972 election. Amtrak started service in 1971.
“I think you’re on pretty solid ground,” an Amtrak spokesman emailed in response to questions trying to verify if Mr. Biden was the only one of the 25 nominees (14 Democrats and 11 Republicans, not including John McCain’s unnamed running mate) since Amtrak’s formation to commute on it daily or nearly every day.
Many of the nominees simply had no need to commute daily on Amtrak–or no way to do so conveniently. Think of Jimmy Carter during his pre-presidency career in Georgia; or Ronald Reagan in Southern California; or Walter Mondale in Minnesota and then D.C.; or Richard Nixon, the sitting president who signed Amtrak into being.
Mr. Biden, on the other hand, was uniquely positioned to commute on the national rail carrier, living as he does near a major regular stop in Wilmington and working near another one in Washington.
For the record, Amtrak does not take a position on the presidential (or vice presidential) contenders. See my August interview with its chief executive Alex Kummant.