Posted: Sept. 30, 2013


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Beau Biden's first semi-public appearance was at the exclusively private Wilmington Club. Another over the weekend was at a campaign reception for $1,200-a-person on the grounds belonging to his father-the-vice-president in Greenville.

Forget being a friend of the working stiff. This was like the Forbidden City even for the middle class.

Any more of this, and the name of the political figure formally known as Joseph R. Biden III might have to be changed from Beau to Mitt.

Great mystery and uncertainty continue to surround the well-being of Beau Biden, the two-term Democratic attorney general, since the medical scare that sent him to Houston for four days in August for an unspecified "procedure" at M.D. Anderson, the renowned cancer center.

Since early September, he seems to have kept up something of a work schedule but no events open to the public, just a churn of press releases from the Attorney General's Office, and a sighting or so to signal he still plans to run for a third term in 2014.

Those campaign-related glimpses, however, have been available only for people with deep pockets, not for the masses. Kind of like political pay-per-view.

Beau Biden showed up Sept. 4 at the Wilmington Club, the old-line property off Rodney Square, to meet with about 35 members of his host committee, which was helping to drum up people to go to that $1,200-a-pop reception hosted Saturday by Joe and Jill Biden at their home.

Beau Biden also showed up for the event itself, where there were said to be more than 200 people in attendance and the state of his health was like the 500-pound canary in the room that everybody pretended not to notice.

Accounts were hard to come by, officially or unofficially.

Nothing from Beau Biden himself. Not much from Molly Magarik, who runs his political operation.

"Our fund-raisers are always closed to the press, and we don't discuss the details of our fund-raising plans," Magarik said.

By one account from Bob Byrd, a lobbyist who was on the host committee, the fund-raiser was one of the most impressive Delaware has ever seen.

"It was at the house, and the house looked gorgeous. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the weather was perfect," Byrd said.

The event was also believed to be wildly successful. This will happen when the vice president is the host, and the contributors are generally locals who can expect to be greeted by name.

By the estimates of a couple of Democrats, the campaign collected $200,000 to $300,000. That is quite a haul for a single fund-raiser for a statewide race, particularly for one as far down on the ballot as attorney general, not to mention for a candidate who so far is running unopposed.

At least the amount of money that was raised cannot stay secret for too long. By law, the campaign has to file a public financial report at the end of the year.

Before Houston, it was widely assumed the 2014 campaign for attorney general would be a dress rehearsal for Beau Biden to run governor in 2016, but now, people do not know what to think until they hear more about his health.

Instead, there has not been so much as a little Beau peep.