It appears Joe Biden likes a bargain. The Vice President flashed his Costco membership card to cheers from delighted shoppers as he walked through the doors at the grand opening of the discount chain's first-ever D.C. store this morning.
"I've got to show my card first," he remarked, before launching into his holiday shopping.
The surprise visit was part of the Obama administration's broader campaign to pressure Republicans to extend the middle class tax cuts as part of a deficit reduction deal.
"I think it's important that Congress acts now, I mean right now," Biden told reporters. "All it has to do is take a single vote to extend the middle class tax cut."
"If they don't do that and we go over the so-called 'fiscal cliff' the fact is that it's been estimated that $200 billion less will be spent next year, as well as you're going to have people having their taxes going up roughly [$2,200] a year. It's going to have an impact on the economy," he said. "We have a lot we have to settle, but there's one thing we should agree on and that is the middle class tax cut should be made permanent."
The vice president spent just under an hour shopping, posing for pictures, and tasting free samples, which he appeared to enjoy, at the new store in the struggling Fort Lincoln neighborhood. "These are hard-working folks who don't need to see their taxes go up," he said.
The Bidens, who have been members of the discount chain in the past, re-activated their membership yesterday. They paid the $55 membership fee to receive their new cards, according to the White House. "In all honesty, I didn't have my own card, Jill wouldn't let me have one," Biden said. "I went to get my wife's card, and she said, 'No, no, get your own card.'"
The grand opening was at 8:00 am and when the official motorcade arrived more than an hour later, the parking lot in Northeast neighborhood was already packed.
With the help of an employee who wheeled his cart around, Biden made stops in the bakery, where he selected an apple pie, the frozen food aisle, and the children's section where he picked up books for "Book Buddies," a program his wife is involved with in Delaware.
The vice president also perused the jewelry cases. After borrowing a cell phone from his aide, he tried to call his daughter Ashley. "I'm getting some guidance," he said, but the call did not go through. He then took a closer look at some of the watches.
The vice president was greeted this morning by CEO Craig Jelinek and Costco Co-founder Jim Sinegal, who was a huge Obama donor and campaign surrogate. Obama attended a campaign fundraiser hosted by Sinegal at his Washington State home earlier this year and Sinegal had a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention.
"Thanks for coming along. Now you know why my wife doesn't let me shop alone," Biden joked at the end of his shopping. "Thanks for shopping with me and I know you won't tell anybody what I bought for Christmas."