Detroit — Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival in Detroit via his executive motorcade, which closed Interstate 94 eastbound into Detroit, sent commuters into a frenzy Wednesday evening on social media.
Biden rode into the city Tuesday evening with a fleet of patrol cars with flashing lights, apparently creating a headache for some motorists.
“Joe Biden in town pre-Auto Show creating traffic jams, next time go to the dealership okay?” read a tweet from David Lowe.
Another Twitter user, Anne Sullivan, added: “Joe Biden had 94 closed for him haha only vice that's ever done that ... Had to take mich ave downtown and then jefferson #3hourslater”
Pictures on social media showed several patrol cars blocking highway entrances and traffic congestion.
Biden arrived at his hotel downtown about 6:30 p.m. before he and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan planned to have dinner in a private room at a Detroit restaurant. Biden's office wouldn’t confirm where it will take place.
Biden will be at Cobo Center on Thursday to make a speech on the auto industry turnaround and tour Detroit's Big Three exhibits. It's not clear which senior executives will be on the show stands to give Biden a look at the new vehicles.
Biden last attended the Detroit auto show in 2007 as a U.S. senator. A self-described car enthusiast who owns a 1967 Corvette, Biden’s late father was a longtime car dealership manager — mostly at GM dealers but he ran a Chrysler dealership and briefly a Ford dealership.
During the 2009 auto bailout, Biden often asked his staff extensive questions about the auto industry and was a key participant in discussions that led to the divided White House decision to support a further bailout to rescue Chrysler in 2009.
In a 2011 interview with Car and Driver, Biden recounted some of his vehicles.
"I bought a ’51 Studebaker,” he told the magazine. “My dad thought it was nice and calm, but it had that overdrive, and it was fast. Then I bought a 1952 Plymouth convertible, candy-apple red with a split windshield. I think that was my favorite.
“I had a ’56 Chevy, then in college I bought a 100,000-mile Mercedes 190SL with those Solex carburetors that never functioned. And I still have my 1967 Goodwood-green Corvette, 327, 350-horse, with a rear-axle ratio that really gets up and goes. The Secret Service won’t let me drive it. I’m not allowed to drive anything. It’s the one thing I hate about this job. I’m serious."
He told the magazine that his brother owns a 556-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V 556-hp (CTS-V) Cadillac.
"He brought it down for me to eat my heart out. So I got in. I have a driveway that’s about 1,700 feet long. I knew the Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it outside. So I jumped on that sucker and laid rubber. ?A great feeling. That thing could probably beat my Corvette," Biden said.
During his visit for the Detroit show, Biden also plans to help Michigan Democrats raise money for the 2014 campaign. He attended a fundraiser Wednesday ahead of the working dinner with Duggan.
The closed fundraiser was expected to include a photo line for donors to raise funds for the Michigan Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign, which aims to boost statewide campaigns and Democratic turnout. Biden's office confirmed the plan, but didn't immediately say how much money the event was expected to raise.
Democrats are trying to oust first-term Gov. Rick Snyder and retain the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit.
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, is taking on former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Republican, to replace Levin. Former Rep. Mark Schauer is running for governor.
Staff Writer Tony Briscoe contributed to this report.