Vice President Joe Biden today made a surprise appearance on the ABC morning mainstay “Live With Regis and Kelly,” bearing a bagful of gifts for the retiring 80-year-old co-anchor, Regis Philbin.
“I came for two reasons. One, to wish you good luck,” Biden said to remaining co-host Kelly Ripa. “And two, to express my sympathies to Joy,” he said jokingly, turning to Philbin. Joy Senese is Philbin’s wife of 40 years.
“She does not need a diamond. What she needs is an excuse to get out of the house,” he said. “I understand she plays tennis. She is going to need all these tennis balls to get the hell out of [inaudible] … ”
Biden presented Philbin with a White House branded canvas tote sack filled with neon yellow tennis balls. He said he was also tossing in some golf balls.
“I know she doesn’t play golf, but I promise you she’s going to find a way to try to get out for four hours at a shot,” he said.
Before ducking off the stage, Biden leaned in to Philbin to offer some parting words of encouragement.
“You know what the vice president just said? My mother loves you,” Philbin said with a smile.
“A typical Irish-Catholic son, that’s why I never liked him initially,” Biden kidded. “She liked to say, ‘he’s a good boy, Joey.’” Catherine “Jean” Biden died in January 2010 at the age of 92.
The vice president is in New York City today for a pair of campaign fundraisers and an afternoon meeting with the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
Philbin will vacate his anchor chair for good on Friday after 28-and-a-half years.
He sits down with ABC News’ Katie Couric to talk about his career and what’s next during a special edition of “20/20” on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. ET.