Former VP Joe Biden greeted shipyard employees Friday. His wife Jill will break a bottle Saturday

Former Vice President Joe Biden stands next to Elaine Luria while he waits for shipyard workers to exit the 46 Street gate in Newport News on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (Julia Marsigliano/HNNDaily)
Former Vice President Joe Biden stands next to Elaine Luria while he waits for shipyard workers to exit the 46 Street gate in Newport News on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (Julia Marsigliano/Southside Daily)

There were two familiar faces Friday in Newport News — former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.

Joe Biden met with the United Steelworkers Local 8888 around 3 p.m. Friday and then greeted Newport News Shipbuilding workers at the 46 Street gate during the 3:30 p.m. shift change.

“Hi, I’m Joe Biden,” he said, shaking hands with dozens of Shipbuilding workers exiting the right side of the gate and alternated between introducing himself, thanking the workers for “what they do” and encouraging them to “vote democrat,” as Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd District), Tiffany Boyle, the city’s commissioner of the revenue, Elaine Luria, and people carrying signs with the USW logo and the message “Keep Rocking the Boat, Joe” stood nearby.

Some Shipbuilding workers stopped to take selfies with Biden, while others exited the gate on the left side, chatting and sighing as they walked through the crowd of politicians, journalists, shipyard workers and others before crossing the street.

When asked who he was endorsing, Biden stood next to Luria, put his arm around her left shoulder, turned toward reporters and said “Her. I’m endorsing her.”

Luria is running against Rep. Scott Taylor, (R-2nd District).

In regards to the midterm elections, Biden said that he thinks “we’re going to do well” and mentioned that “any democrat can win against Trump” as he was leaving, which prompted chants of “Biden 2020.”

Biden did not confirm or deny a future presidential run.

Jill Biden, on the other hand, is christening the new Virginia-Class Submarine Delaware (SSN 791) on Saturday morning.

As the ship’s sponsor, she also gets to smash a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow in front of invited guests, including shipbuilders, Delaware sailors and their families, said Duane Bourne, media relations manager for Newport News Shipbuilding. Read more about the christening tradition here.

Construction on the Delaware submarine began September 2013 in Newport News and the submarine is the Navy’s seventh vessel named for the “first state” since the USS Delaware (BB 28) battleship was commissioned in 1910.

In April 2016, Jill Biden’s initials were welded onto a steel plate and attached the submarine during the keel-laying ceremony to symbolize her “lifelong relationship with the shipbuilders and crew”, according to the HII news release.

“The submarine is about 93 percent complete. Roughly 4,000 shipbuilders from NNS worked on the Delaware,” Bourne wrote in a text.

And even though Saturday’s christening is invite-only, you can still watch the ceremony live on the HII’s Facebook page or follow the social media hashtag, #SSN791 on the shipbuilding company’s Twitter and Instagram pages.

Joe Biden will also be at the submarine’s christening.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.