PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s one of the largest Labor Day parades in America where organized labor trumpets its special ties to Pittsburgh. As one union chanted, “Get up. Get down. Pittsburgh is a union town.”
That brings out lots of politicians, like Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak, Democrats who are running for U.S. Senate next year.
But all eyes were really on America’s number two man, Vice President Joe Biden, who couldn’t miss hearing this request frequently.
“Run, Joe, Run.”
But Biden wouldn’t reveal whether he’s in or out of next year’s race for president, as he told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Delano: “Mr. Vice President, are you getting the vibe to run?”
Biden: “No. I’m getting the vibe to be with the folks I grew up with.”
Looking fit and trim, Biden walked and sometime ran the parade route downtown, shaking hands, holding babies, kissing lots of women young and old, and taking selfies.
To the outsider, it sure seemed like Biden was a man running for public office.
And some in the Labor Day crowd clearly want him to run.
“Absolutely,” said one.
“I trust him more than I trust Hillary,” added another.
There were no signs for Hillary Clinton although a few Bernie Sanders signs were visible, but Biden made no announcements even at a private gathering of steelworkers when someone shouted “Biden for President.”
“You got to talk to my wife about that. I’ve got to talk to my wife about that,” he said.
Friends of Biden — like Rich Trumka, a local guy who’s now America’s top union official as president of the AFL-CIO, are not surprised.
“Joe’s been a great friend of mine personally and a great friend and champion of working people,” Trumka told Delano. “The next step in his illustrious career is up to him and his family. I mean he’s working through that now and we’ll see what happens.”
Besides pressing a lot of flesh along the route, Biden aimed his message at America’s working middle class who, he says, are falling behind the very rich.
“Back in the 1970s, you know the top one percent of America owned 20 percent of all the wealth in America,” said the Vice President. “Today, one percent of Americans owns 40 percent of all the wealth of America.”
Biden blamed an unfair tax code and credited unions with trying to restore pay fairness for all workers.
“You’re the only ones who have the power to keep the barbarians from the gate, man,” he said.
Uncommitted local officials liked his words.
“I think he’d be a great candidate,” said Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb.
“He would be a very formidable candidate,” noted Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Kortz, a Dravosburg Democrat.
“I think we have to start taking a look at some other candidates given what’s going on in the Clinton campaign,” added Pennsylvania Sen. Jay Costa, a Forest Hills Democrat.
So will he run?
At a private steelworkers rally, he said only talk to his wife