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Take Five: Sen. Bob Casey

His hometown of Scranton isn't as funny or as mean as 'The Office'

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., holds a football signed by former Pittsburgh Steelers owner and U.S. ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney in his office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., holds a football signed by former Pittsburgh Steelers owner and U.S. ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney in his office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., talks about Villanova basketball, “The Office” and his father.  

Q : How ’bout them Wildcats?  

A : I was watching the [NCAA National Championship] game with my wife in my apartment here in Washington, a basement apartment. Fifteen minutes went by and it just popped into my head — ‘Oh my God, I forgot about the shot North Carolina made.’ It would have been one of the greatest shots ever if not superseded by the one after. I’m not sure there has ever been a game like that in the final. The only one comparable, it was 1983. When North Carolina State tapped it in, and that was at the buzzer.  

Q : Do you remember where you watched Villanova’s last win in 1985?  

A : I was in law school and I was in a dormitory because my brother and I were at different law schools and we stayed in a dormitory in Trinity College, believe it or not. Their enrollment had gotten lower and they decided to open one of the dormitories to law students. [Casey attended law school at Catholic University]. I was in my room, watching it on a very primitive television set. Probably black and white, or whatever. Most people thought if they played 100 times, Georgetown would have won 98 or 99 times.  

Q : You’re from Scranton originally and still live there. How do you feel about “The Office”?  

A : “The Office” is a great show. I have to admit I didn’t watch “The Office” very often when it was on. I watched it more a few times when I saw re-runs. We’re not that funny, we’re also not that mean. People are pretty mean on that show. We don’t have any Steve Carells going around insulting people. My biggest achievement was when John Krasinski — my youngest daughter wanted to meet him. So my assignment, only assignment, was to figure out a way for her to meet him. At one point, several of them pulled in front of the University of Scranton and the actors were going to get out of the van to get into convertibles for this massive parade. So I knew that once he got into the car, I wouldn’t be able to meet him. He was in the little van and I was standing right on the curb and the doors open. I just walked in and introduced myself in the most inarticulate way: ‘Hi, I’m Bob Casey. I’m a U.S. senator. You have to meet my daughter right now.’ He was really nice to her.  

Q : Besides cheesesteaks, what is your favorite staple Pennsylvania food?  

A : Being a good politician, I have to rank cheesesteaks very much equivalent to Primanti Brothers sandwiches (in Pittsburgh). They are equal, I’m not going to tip the scales either way. We have lots of great candy in Pennsylvania. The obvious one is Hershey’s, but I have to give [credit to] my hometown Gertrude Hawk Chocolates. It’s really good.  

Q : You were only 25 when your father was elected Pennsylvania’s governor. What did you learn in terms of how to lead?  

A : Learned a lot about public service from him and also learned a lot about not being cynical about the process. He had a lot of reasons to be cynical, when you lose primaries for governor when you’re age 34, age 38 and age 46, you could be pretty cynical. He always was upbeat and then he won at 54, so he had like a 20-year journey to get there. He was very positive and never brought the problems of campaigns home. He was a real model public servant and also had a good sense of humor.  

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