Joe Biden, No. 1 Fan of Women’s Sports

Washington — Joe Biden, it turns out, is quite the cheerleader.

This afternoon, before a chipper crowd gathered in the basketball arena at George Washington University, the vice president, sporting a wide grin and a bright-purple tie, gushed about Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its influence on female athletes. During a 15-minute speech, he dished out more than a bit of the folksy chatter for which he is well known: A little gosh-I’m-old humor about arriving in the Senate the year after Title IX was passed (“My Lord!”, then “God almighty, I was there!”) and a confession that women’s lacrosse is his favorite sport (“It’s like watching gazelles.”).

Officially, Mr. Biden was there with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to announce the Education Department’s reversal of a controversial 2005 policy on Title IX compliance and to roll out the Obama administration’s new guidance on the law.

Unofficially, though, the veep was there to brag about his granddaughters. And his mother. And his sister. And his nieces. And several other girls and women he knows — including a former intern in his office, Joy Cheek, a basketball player at Duke — who have excelled at sports in the pre- and post-Title IX eras.

“I have three granddaughters, and they’re all great athletes,” said Mr. Biden, who stood on a stage in front of 40 or so girls and young women, including cheerleaders, Girl Scouts, and members of the Olympic women’s ice-hockey team. “The youngest one,” he added, “is world-class.” That 9-year-old hoops phenom, we soon learned, plays on a boys’ team and competes in the same Maryland basketball league as one of the Obama girls.

“This kid’s good,” said Mr. Biden, the proud grandpa. “I’m looking for a contract.”

After a few more comments, in which he advised “all the men who are listening to this” that Title IX was a “great equalizer,” Mr. Biden rediscovered the TelePrompter and offered solemn thoughts on the federal civil-rights law.

“We have a long way to go still, and we want to take away every barrier that exists,” he said. “Forty years from now, if we still need Title IX, we will have failed.”

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