Vice President Joe Biden, who with his wife Dr. Jill Biden earned $379,000 in 2011, made a surprise visit to the discount warehouse store Costco in Washington today.
While the Bidens have been Costco members in the past, according to the White House, Biden got his card reactivated just Wednesday for today’s photo op.
Among the items Biden purchased were an apple pie, fire logs, a 32-inch Panasonic TV, and children’s books.
The books, according to Biden, were bound for a Delaware charity Biden’s wife Jill started. But the Bidens are not big givers to charity, donating only 1.5 percent of their income last year to charitable causes.
In addition to portraying the high-earning Biden as an average guy, the visit is priceless PR for Costco, which just opened a brand new Washington store that Biden visited.
According to Charlie Spiering in the Washington Examiner, Costco Co-founder Jim Sinegal, who greeted Biden at the store, has been cozying up to the White House for some time:
Sinegal, Costco’s former CEO, gave a speech praising President Obama at the Democratic National Convention in September.
Sinegal retired as CEO in January, but gradually took a greater interest in Obama’s re-election campaign.
Sinegal hosted a fundraiser for Obama in July at his Seattle area mansion at Hunt’s Point. Tickets for the event ranged from $5,000 to $35,000 and reportedly raised more than $1.4 million.
The appearance was also partly a pitch for the White House position on the “fiscal cliff” talks. The White House is demanding that republicans agree to raise taxes on higher income earners while keeping tax rates on the middle class where they are.
Biden called the shoppers “hard working folks who don’t need to see their taxes go up.”
Here’s some raw video of the event posted by the Associated Press.