Biden toasts Irish holiday with water: 'My grandfather Finnegan would roll over in his grave' if he knew

Vice President Joe Biden's late mother, Jean, would have approved of his St. Patrick's Day breakfast. But his grandfather Finnegan? Not so much.

Biden, who is of Irish Catholic descent, hosted a St. Patrick's Day breakfast on Wednesday at his residence for the visiting head of the Irish government, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and his wife, Mary. The guest list included Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and his spouse, Marie, as well as some notable Irish Americans, among them Vicki and Kara Kennedy, the widow and daughter, respectively of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), MSNBC's Chris Matthews, and The New York Times's Maureen Dowd.

The dress code was strict. "Anyone not wearing green is not allowed in the house!" Biden joked. For his part, the veep sported green flowers in his lapel, which he said his late mother, Jean Biden, would have approved of. "She always checked that I wore what she called a boutonniere, and that I had ash on my forehead on Ash Wednesday."

Biden recalled both his mother and Kennedy in his remarks, telling the group, "I know that Mom and Teddy are staring down." Then he looked upward. "Mom, I am being good," he said, "and I got the Taoiseach."
The one person Biden said might not approve of the low-key celebration was his mother's father.

"My grandfather Finnegan would roll over in his grave, me toasting with water."

The toast wasn't Biden's only one of the day. He and his granddaughter, aptly named Finnegan Biden, later joined President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill for a St. Patrick's Day lunch with lawmakers.