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A Son of Ireland, Adopted by Italy

Jill Biden at the National Spelling Bee on Friday, before attending the Sons of Italy gala. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Why did the Sons of Italy Foundation choose to honor Joe Biden at its annual dinner Thursday -- the first time a non-Italian has received the salute? You guessed it: Some of his best friends are Italian!

"Although I am Irish, I grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Claymont, Delaware," the vice president told the gathering at the National Building Museum. "All my friends were Italian Americans, and when I first ran for public office my constituents and supporters were." But also: A bona fide connection via his wife Jill, who is of Sicilian descent. A Biden rep told our colleague Marissa Newhall that the veep's spouse has gotten deep into genealogy and is researching how her family name went from Giacoppa to Jacobs.

Also honored at the dinner: "Ciao Italia" star Mary Ann Esposito, U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa and union chief Robert Scardelletti.

By The Reliable Source  |  June 1, 2009; 1:01 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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