HARTFORD, Conn. - What happens when you invite Vice-President Joe Biden to your high school prom? For one student he couldn't make it, but he sent a personal reply.
Talia Maselli reached out to Biden last fall, knowing his dance card likely would fill up.
Biden sent a handwritten card and a corsage — baby's breath, white roses and red, white and blue ribbons. Biden's office says he was touched by the invitation and personally picked out the corsage so Maselli would feel special.
When the vice-president's package arrived at the Masellis' home last Thursday, a day before the prom at the school in Newington, the family thought it was a prank.
"But then we called the number that came with it, and it was his personal secretary," said Maselli, 18. "I was just shocked."
Maselli said the invitation to Biden began as a joke between her and her friends and she thought it would get lost in all the other mail he gets. She said she always thought the vice-president was funny and she didn't invite President Barack Obama because she thought he would be too busy.
"You know how people have a celebrity crush?" she said. "Well, I don't, but I thought he would be fun to hang out with."
Maselli said in her letter to Biden in September that she was inviting him so far in advance because she had to beat other teenage girls to the punch. She didn't go to her prom Friday, as planned.
"I could only tolerate a high school dance if I was to be escorted by the most delightful man in all of America — Joe Biden," she wrote. "I fear if you turn me down, I may have to invite Speaker John Boehner, and we can't have that now can we."
Biden, a former U.S. senator from Delaware, said in his reply that he was flattered by the invitation but his schedule wouldn't let him attend. Biden's office is arranging for Maselli to meet him at the White House in July.
Dawn Maselli said her daughter, who plans to study theatre at Central Connecticut State University in the fall, has been downplaying getting a response from the vice-president, saying it's no big deal. That's not how mom sees it, though.
"It's wild. It's fun," Dawn Maselli said. "I told her to just enjoy it."
Lederman reported from Washington.