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Obama has the White House, but where does Vice President Joe Biden live?

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Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

(Read caption) Vice President Joe Biden greets guests during a Thanksgiving meal at the Naval Observatory for military members and their families, Monday, Nov. 23, 2009, in Washington.

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The other day, a friend asked us an interesting question: Why does Vice President Joe Biden have so many meetings at the US Naval Observatory?

You see it on his schedule all the time: 9:30 a.m. VP Joe Biden to meet Secretary of State Clinton at Naval Observatory; 11 a.m. VP Joe Biden greets National Spelling Bee champions at Naval Observatory; 12 noon VP Joe Biden tips pizza delivery guy at Naval Observatory; and so forth. (Yes, we made that last one up.)

We liked the question because it illuminated the divide between what Washingtonians know as a matter of course and what the rest of the nation doesn’t. Ask pretty much anybody who’s worked for or around the federal government and they’ll shrug and tell you the answer: because that’s where he lives.

Technically speaking, he lives at 1 Observatory Circle, a Victorian home that serves as the US vice president’s official residence. The house sits on a high point of the Naval Observatory grounds, a big swath of open land just north of the British Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. It’s hard to drive through upper Northwest D.C. without skirting it.

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