Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (born November 20, 1942) is an American politican who became the 47th and former Vice President of the United States. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is from Wilmington, Delaware. Before becoming Vice President, he was a U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009. He had served in the Senate longer than any other Vice President.
He tried to become the Democratic candidate for President twice, in 1988 and 2008, but did not win. He is a Roman Catholic. Biden has received several awards. He has five honorary doctorates, including one from his alma mater and one from where he has taught law. He has also earned the "Best of Congress Award" and an award from the Pakistani government.
Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania to a family of Irish Catholics. His father, Joe Biden Sr., was a businessman. When he was young, his family moved to Wilmington, Delaware. In high school, Biden played football and baseball, but he was not a very good student. Biden attended college at the University of Delaware and Syracuse University. He did not have to fight in the Vietnam War because he was going to college and had asthma as a child.
In the Senate
For many years, Biden was a U.S. Senator from Delaware. Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 when he was 29 years old. His election was somewhat of a surprise. The other candidate, J. Caleb Boggs, had more experience and more money to spend on his campaign. He is one of the youngest people to become a U.S. Senator, because he was only two months older than the minimum age, 30, required to be one.
Biden was re-elected to the Senate six times. Later in his time in the Senate, Biden served as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Foreign Relations committee deals with American issues in other countries. When Biden was chair, the committee dealt with the 1991 Gulf War, the 2003 War in Iraq, and several treaties. The Judiciary Committee dealt with the choice of Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and others for the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Biden thought that Thomas and Bork should not be on the Court. Though U.S. senators work in Washington, DC, Biden took the train home to Delaware every night.
Running for President and Vice President
Biden ran for President two times, in 1988 and 2008. The first time he was viewed as a good choice early on, but quit after another candidate said he gave a speech that was copied from Neil Kinnock, a British politician.
Biden tried again to get the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2008 presidential election. He ran mostly on foreign issues, especially getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. Many thought of him as a good choice for Secretary of State. He stopped his campaign on January 3, 2008 after he did not get many votes in the Iowa caucus. However, he later became Barack Obama's pick for Vice President due to what he knew about Iraq and because the working class liked him.
When Biden was running for President, he criticized Obama, talking about his lack of experience, but later he supported Obama to become president. His opponent as Vice President was Sarah Palin, who had less experience but was seen as more interesting by the media. Before the election, there were debates between the different candidates running for president or vice president. In the debate between Biden and Palin, many people believed that he knew more about running America than Palin did. When Obama was elected President on November 4, 2008, Biden was elected Vice President.
As Vice President
Biden became Vice President on January 20, 2009, and is the first person from Delaware and first Roman Catholic to be Vice President. When Biden became Vice President, he said he would do things differently from Dick Cheney, who had been Vice President before him. Biden has said that his vice-presidency will not be like any other.
Biden's main role is as an advisor to Obama, mostly on issues of foreign policy and the economy. Obama has asked for Biden's input on most of his major decisions, such as who to put in his Cabinet and how to fight the War in Afghanistan. Obama has put him in charge of groups to deal with the problems of the working class, as well as to watch the money in his stimulus bill. Biden has also traveled to the Middle East several times on behalf of Obama and the U.S. while Vice President. In 2011, Biden lead talks on the budget and the debt. On November 6, 2012, Biden was re-elected for a second term as Vice President along with President Barack Obama.
After winning the election, Biden served the Vice Presidency until January 20, 2017.
2016 presidential election
In August 2015, Biden said that he was looking for a possible chance of running for President again in the 2016 U.S. election. Biden formed a PAC for his possible run. On October 21, speaking from a podium in the Rose Garden with his wife and President Obama by his side, Biden announced his decision not the enter the race for the Democratic nomination for the presidency for the 2016 election.
2020 presidential election
During a tour of the U.S. Senate with reporters before leaving office, on December 5, 2016, Biden said that a presidential bid was possible in the 2020 presidential election, after leaving office as Vice President. If he were to run in 2020, Biden would be 77 years old on election day and 78 on inauguration day in 2021. While on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on December 7, in which he stated "never say never" about running for President in 2020, while also admitting he did not see a scenario in which he would run for office again. On January 13, 2017, exactly one week before Donald Trump took office, that he would not run. However, four days later, on January 17, he took the statement back, saying "I'll run if I can walk."
Allegations of physical misconduct
There have been many photographs of Biden hugging and or touching women in what commentators said to be inappropriate as his actions towards women and children were kissing and or touching. Biden has said that the behavior had got him in trouble in the past.
In March 2019, former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores said that Biden kissed her without her consent at a 2014 campaign rally in Las Vegas. Flores wrote that Biden walked up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed the back of her head. In an interview with HuffPost, Flores stated she believed Biden's behavior should force him not to run in 2020. By early April 2019, a total of seven women had made such allegations regarding Biden.
While in college, he married his first wife, Nelia Hunter. They had three children, two sons (Beau and Robert) and a daughter (Naomi). After college, he became a lawyer and served on a County Council, a group of people who run a county. In 1972, Nelia and Naomi were killed in a car accident, and Beau and Robert were hurt very badly. Both survived the accident. Beau was the Attorney General in Delaware until January 2015 and served as a soldier in Iraq. Beau died from brain cancer on May 30, 2015 in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 46. Biden thought of resigning as Vice President because of his son's death.
Biden married his second wife, Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden, in 1977. She is a teacher and the former Second Lady of the United States. In 1981, they had a daughter, Ashley, who is now a social worker. In 1988, Biden suffered from bleeding in his brain and needed brain surgery twice. Because of what he saw in his family and neighborhood, Biden does not drink alcohol.
Awards and honors
Biden has gotten honorary degrees from the University of Scranton (1976), Saint Joseph's University (1981), Widener University School of Law (2000), Emerson College (2003), his alma mater the University of Delaware (2004), Suffolk University Law School (2005), and his other alma mater Syracuse University (2009).
Biden got the Chancellor Medal from his alma mater, Syracuse University, in 1980. In 2005, he got the George Arents Pioneer Medal—Syracuse's highest alumni award—"for excellence in public affairs."
In 2008, Biden got the Best of Congress Award, for "improving the American quality of life through family-friendly work policies," from Working Mother magazine. Also in 2008, Biden shared with fellow Senator Richard Lugar the Hilal-i-Pakistan award from the Government of Pakistan, "in recognition of their consistent support for Pakistan." In 2009, Biden got The Golden Medal of Freedom award from Kosovo, that region's highest award, for his vocal support for their independence in the late 1990s.
Biden is an member of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association Hall of Fame.
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- White House official biography
- Joe Biden at the Open Directory Project
- Senate campaign website (archived)
- Biography at WhoRunsGov.com at The Washington Post
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Voting record maintained by The Washington Post
- Congressional profile at GovTrack.us
- Issue positions and quotes at On The Issues
- Financial information at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance at LegiStorm.com
- Campaign finance reports and data at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Works by or about Joe Biden in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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