The Buzz

August 9, 2014

The Buzz: From White House to Horse Shoe, Biden confidant back at USC

Fran Person went from a University of South Carolina bowl game to working for Vice President Joe Biden in a span of days after graduating from the university.

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

Fran Person went from a University of South Carolina bowl game to working for Vice President Joe Biden in a span of days after graduating from the university.

Now, in the span of a weekend, the former Gamecocks football player, political science and international studies major has left Democrat Biden’s office to return to his alma mater, where he started Monday as an adviser to USC president Harris Pastides and athletics director Ray Tanner. Person will work on student-athlete well-being initiatives.

The birth of his second daughter, now two months old, had a lot to do with the decision to move back to South Carolina, Person told The Buzz Friday.

“It’s the greatest honor in the world to be a father, especially to two beautiful little girls. It was time to come back for our family,” he said.

Person, 31, landed the job with the vice president after Biden visited USC. Person caught the Veep at a reception and asked what it would take to work with him.

“He told me, when I was finished, to give him a call,” Person said.

Person did call, and in January 2006, just days after he played in the Independence Bowl, he went to work for the vice president as a driver and staff assistant.

Person said he traveled with Biden to nearly every U.S. state, visited 49 countries, and met with kings, queens and people of different cultures and political persuasions.

Now, that he’s back in South Carolina, Person said he’ll keep in touch with Biden, who he expects will call to check on Person’s wife, Krystal, and daughters Bella, 3, and Zoe, the family’s newest addition.

Person said the vice president taught him to respect everyone around him, and that “all politics is personal,” a play on the Tip O’Neill adage: “All politics is local.”

“In some ways, the thing I’ll miss the most is the vice president himself, our relationship,” Person said Friday. “He became like another father to me. That’s a relationship that will be there forever.”

ABC spotlights S.C. child-welfare woes

ABC World News may not have broken much news in its report last weekend on children dying while under state care that featured the S.C. Department of Social Services.

But it did create some buzz.

The report interviewed four anonymous, former child-welfare case workers whose faces were blurred. They said the agency often returned children home to harmful situations to create a “false appearance of success,” according to the report. ABC also mentioned the 76 S.C. children that died in 2013 after some involvement with Social Services and reviewed the case of Robert Guinyard, a 4-year-old autistic boy who was beaten fatally in his home.

The report was on the mind of U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, who met with reporters Monday at his Columbia office.

Asked about another issue – the 350 unaccompanied immigrant children who crossed into the U.S. through Mexico and now are staying with S.C. sponsors – Clyburn said: “All the children who are coming to South Carolina, they’re not under the care of DSS, and that’s a good thing.”

T-Rav takes debate challenge to ... Arizona?

What does Charleston developer and felon (time served) Thomas Ravenel do when U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham won’t answer his requests for debate?

Ravenel, who is running as an independent petition candidate against Graham and two other candidates, challenged Graham’s pal, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., instead.

When a reporter asked him about T-Rav’s latest challenge during a visit to Columbia this week, the usually gregarious Graham – showing just how much he cares about the Bravo reality-TV star – just waved his hand in the air and walked away.

Buzz bites

Bridging the gender gap: USC student body president Lindsey Richardson is featured in MSNBC’s series “Women in Politics: College Edition.” Richardson, a Lake Wylie native in USC’s Class of 2015, was nominated by the university for “bridging the gender gap in politics.”

The more the merrier: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will have Sen. Graham, R-Seneca, and Gov. Nikki Haley in his company when he headlines U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan’s annual “Faith & Freedom BBQ” fundraiser on Aug. 25. The 2016 White House prospect is returning to the Palmetto State after delivering the keynote address at the S.C. Republican Party’s 2012 Silver Elephant dinner. Last year, Duncan’s event attracted presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

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