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Jill Biden, Captain of the Vice Squad

5 years ago
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She's the captain of the vice squad. That's how Dr. Jill Biden, the second lady of the United States, jokes about being the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

You know FLOTUS, First Lady of The United States Michelle Obama, from this column. Here's an update on SLOTUS, who started her second semester of teaching at the Alexandria campus of the Northern Virginia Community College on Aug. 24.

Biden, who received a doctorate degree in 2007, is handling two courses: "Preparing for College Writing" and "Critical Reading and Study Skills." President Obama asked the longtime community college educator to promote enrollment at community colleges, and I bet it will ripen as her signature issue.Education Secretary Arne Duncan is also interested in highlighting the role of community colleges. With Duncan, Biden visited Miami Dade College in March; in May she talked to students at a campus of the Community College of Aurora in Colorado. She's written about CC's in a couple of op-eds.

Biden presides over a staff of eight, including two at the vice presidential residence in northwest Washington, and is rarely in the spotlight. But she is gradually stepping more into her public role.

On Sept. 17, Biden will be the keynoter at a Defense Department employee awards ceremony in Washington. Like Mrs. Obama's agenda, Biden's list includes helping military families.

Her stepson, Delaware Attorney General Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, was deployed to Iraq almost a year ago as a member of the Delaware National Guard. Since January, Biden has visited with military families at Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Carson, Colo., at Walter Reed in Washington; a Navy base in Coronado, Calif., and at the Bamberg and Schweinfurt bases in Germany.

She has stumbled only once: while on the Oprah Winfrey show the day before the inauguration, she told Winfrey that Obama gave her husband a choice between being the vice president and secretary of state. Her other public remarks have been without controversy.

For the record, so far Biden has made six big speeches, including before the UNESCO World Conference on Education in Paris in July and a commencement address at Kingsborough Community College in New York in June.
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