Biden Sworn In To Royal Society Bridge Club

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Widow Fletcher's Tavern Welcomes Candidate

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 4, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a presidential candidate, added an honor to his resumé last week in Hampton as he was inducted into the prestigious Widow Fletcher's Royal Society Bridge Club.

HAMPTON -- Presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., is the newest member of the prestigious Widow Fletchers Royal Society Bridge Club.

Biden took the oath this past Thursday at the local bar in Hampton. Owner Parker Ryan swore in the Democratic Senator from Delaware, making a few minor adjustments to the official club pledge.

"I ... pledge to my comrades that I will never use my membership to influence parking lot attendants, superior court judges or voters whose IQ nearly equals their age," Biden repeated after Ryan.

Ryan altered the pledge by changing "Supreme Court Justices" to "Superior Court judges" after Biden paused, taking into account that he once chaired the Judiciary Committee.

The "Royal Society Bridge Club," Parker once explained in the Hampton Union, started decades ago at Tuck's Ordinary, the precursor to Widow Fletcher's.

Jerry Dignam said there are still some people who don't know exactly what the club is and when they Google the initials the River Street Baptist Church in Georgia comes up.

"We are not a church," Dignam said.

He said the club started with a group of four guys who would come into the bar every Friday night to have a "cocktail."

"They used to sit down at the end of the bar and everyone got into the habit of seeing them there," Dignam said. "Everyone called them the bridge club because there was four of them. Enough to play bridge."

Dignam said there are no dues and no regular meetings. "We meet regularly though by whim or by chance," Dignam said. "We have a membership committee but I don't know who they are. Everyone wants to get into the bridge club and I can't tell them how to do it."

Biden joins other politicians who have been sworn in to the club including Congressman Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.; Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.; former vice president Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Biden said it was an honor to join such a prestigious club and thanked former N.H. Sen. Bob Preston who introduced him by saying that in the debates "he is the one that provides the substance and not the sizzle."

"Bob, thanks for even recognizing that I'm even in the debates, because they usually have me stand at the end of the stage and I don't get asked many questions," Biden joked.

He also joked that all of his opponents have said that he would make a great Secretary of State. Nothing wrong with that job, he says, but he's running for president.

"I ask you a rhetorical question: Are you prepared to vote for anyone -- at this moment in our history -- as president who is not capable of being Secretary of State? Who among my opponents would you consider appointing Secretary of State? Seriously. Think about it."

Biden said this will be the most important election of their lifetimes.

"Not because I'm running, but because America never has been as isolated in the world as she is right now," Biden said.

Before being sworn in to the club, Biden held a forum on the Iraq war at Seacoast Media Group, parent company of Hampton Union.

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