Here's NEWSWEEK's Sarah Kliff with a dispatch from the Biden caravan in Wisconsin.
GREEN BAY, Wisc.--The airport Radisson in Green Bay doesn't exactly look like a happening spot. It looks more like, well, exactly what you'd expect of a hotel next to an eight-gate airport. But this Sunday night was a little different--turns out, both the Biden campaign and the Green Bay Packers selected the same hotel for the night (Packers, who have their season opener tomorrow, are taking the third and fourth floor, while the Biden folks are camped out on the fifth). And—not much of a shocker here—the dozens of fans hanging out in the lobby weren't here for the senior senator from Delaware.
A walkway through the main lobby was lined with 40 or so fans, held back by rope-barriers and staunchly divided by team: Packers fans in green on one side, Minnesota Vikings faithful in purple on the other. Some had come as far from Maryland to spend a Sunday night in the Green Bay Airport Radisson, waiting for players to walk by and thrusting footballs and helmets at them in an attempt to score a few autographs (or, if you're a Vikings fan, jeering at them). Police officers and security officers were stationed throughout the lobby to keep the crowd at bay.
The people of Green Bay are serious sports fans and, on the night before the Packers' season opener, they made it pretty clear that politics ranks a very distant second, despite the next morning's visit from a veep candidate. When I mentioned Biden's swing through Green Bay to fans of both teams, the same question inevitably followed: "He's going to the game right?" Most seemed pretty ticked when they found out he would actually be taking off beforehand. A few didn't bother responding to my attempt to talk politics—a football player would walked by, and I lost them midsentence.
To be fair, a very unscientific survey revealed the crowd to lean Republican, so a McCain or Palin visit may have elicited a more enthusiastic response. But competing with the first game of the Green Bay season, against the rival Vikings no less, is quite a tall order for any politician. There is a way for Biden to play that in his favor, at least according a sports reporter in town for the game: if he can figure out a good way to make an analogy to Brett Favre
Farve* when discussing the change agenda, he says, "that would be huge here."
* [Ms. Kliff is apparently not a pigskin fan. Anyway, her typo recalls this classic item from McSweeney's. - AMR]