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Hold the onions, not the questions

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
WILMINGTON, Del. – It appears that neither cheesesteak-craving vice presidential candidate is safe from voters' questions.

Joe Biden took a break from debate prep this afternoon to enjoy a meal with his son, Beau, at the Charcoal Pit, a diner just outside Wilmington known for its burgers and milk shakes. As Beau ordered a cheesesteak (hold the onions) for his dad, Biden made a loop of the diner, where he said he's been hanging out since high school.

"This is the usual luncheon crowd!"  Biden said as he greeted Bert Boyle, who was manning the cash register. "Sorry to bring all this on you," he added, referring to the media.

One day after Sarah Palin complained of "gotcha journalism" based on questions she faced during a retail stop in Philadelphia, Biden answered some voters' concerns about the state of the economy.

"It's real trouble," Biden told a worker from a local auto parts company who asked about "economic stuff."

"What people are going to do if they don't get this done, people are going to lose their jobs, their pensions," he said.

The Delaware senator said that if the bailout package works "the right way," it would all be paid back. "It's not a seven hundred dollar, seven hundred billion dollar check," he said, comparing the original plan to the past savings and loan bailout. "We bought the bad loans, when the market came back, we sold it and made a profit."

As he exited the restaurant after lunch, he expressed hope that lawmakers could eventually pass a working bill. "We need to," he said.

Biden enjoyed a half hour lunch with his eldest son, as well as his daughter-in-law, Hallie, and granddaughter, Natalie. Beau Biden is being deployed to Iraq soon, with a deployment ceremony scheduled for Friday, one day after the vice presidential debate. Biden is expected to speak at the ceremony.