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Joe Biden

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Joe Biden
Vice President of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2009
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Dick Cheney
U.S. Senator
from Delaware
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 15, 2009
Preceded by J. Caleb Boggs
Succeeded by Ted Kaufman
Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
In office
January 6, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Strom Thurmond
Succeeded by Orrin Hatch
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
In office
January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Richard Lugar
Succeeded by John Kerry
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Jesse Helms
Succeeded by Richard Lugar
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Jesse Helms
Succeeded by Jesse Helms
Personal details
Born November 20, 1942 (1942-11-20) (age 76)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Neilia Hunter (deceased; m. 1966 – 1972)
Jill Tracy Jacobs (m. 1977)
Children Beau Biden
Robert Hunter Biden
Naomi Christina Biden
Ashley Blazer Biden
Residence Wilmington, Delaware
Alma mater University of Delaware
Syracuse University College of Law
Profession Lawyer, Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (born November 20, 1942) is the 47th and current 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.[1][2] He tried to become the Democratic candidate for President twice, in 1988 and 2008, but did not win. He is a Roman Catholic.[3] Biden has received several awards. He has five honorary doctorates, including one from his alma mater and one from where he has taught law.[4] He has also earned the "Best of Congress Award" and an award from the Pakistani government.[5]

Personal life

Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania to a family of Irish Catholics.[6][7] His father, Joe Biden Sr., was a businessman.[8] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] Both survived the accident. Beau is now the Attorney General in Delaware and has served as a soldier in Iraq.

Biden married his second wife, Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden, in 1977.[11] She is a teacher and the current Second Lady of the United States. In 1981, they had a daughter, Ashley, who is now a social worker.[12][13] In 1988, Biden suffered from bleeding in his brain and needed brain surgery twice.[14] Because of what he saw in his family and neighborhood, Biden does not drink alcohol.[8][15]

In the Senate

Biden and Jimmy Carter

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.[16] 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.[17]

Biden was re-elected to the Senate six times.[18] 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. Biden thought that Thomas and Bork should not be on the Court.[19] Though Senators work in Washington, DC, Biden took the train home to Delaware every night.[20]

Running for President and Vice President

Biden ran for President three times, in 1984, 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.[21]

Biden campaigns with Barack Obama

Biden tried again to get the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2008 presidential election.[22] 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.[23] He stopped his campaign on January 3, 2008 after he did not get many votes in the Iowa caucus.[24] 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.[25][26] 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.[27] 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.[28] When Obama was elected President on November 4, 2008, Biden was elected Vice President.

As Vice President

Joe Biden becomes 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.[29] When Biden became Vice President, he said he would do things differently from Dick Cheney, who had been Vice President before him.[30] Biden has said that his vice-presidency will not be like any other.[31] 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.[31] 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.[32][33] Biden has also traveled to the Middle East several times on behalf of Obama and the U.S. while Vice President.[34] 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 will be serving the Vice Presidency until January 20, 2017.

Awards and honors

Biden has gotten honorary degrees from the University of Scranton (1976),[35] Saint Joseph's University (1981),[36] Widener University School of Law (2000),[37] Emerson College (2003),[38] his alma mater the University of Delaware (2004),[39] Suffolk University Law School (2005),[40] and his other alma mater Syracuse University (2009).[4]

Biden got the Chancellor Medal from his alma mater, Syracuse University, in 1980.[41] In 2005, he got the George Arents Pioneer Medal—Syracuse's highest alumni award[41]—"for excellence in public affairs."[42]

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.[43] 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."[5] 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.[44]

Biden is an inductee of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association Hall of Fame.[45]


  1. "Longest Serving Senators". US Government. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  2. "Biden Longest Serving Senator". Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  3. Gibson, Ginger (August 25, 2008). "Parishioners not surprised to see Biden at usual Mass". The News Journal.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Biden to grads: You have chance to shape history". Associated Press. May 10, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Pakistan gives awards to Biden, Lugar for support". Reuters. October 28, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  6. "Profile: Joe Biden". BBC News. August 23, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  7. "Number two Biden has a history over Irish debate". The Belfast Telegraph. November 9, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Broder, John M. (October 23, 2008). "Father’s Tough Life an Inspiration for Biden". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  9. Romano, Lois (June 9, 1987). "Joe Biden & the Politics of Belief" (fee required). The Washington Post.
  10. Levey, Noam M. (August 24, 2008). "In his home state, Biden is a regular Joe". Los Angeles Times.,0,5581055,full.story. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  11. Seelye, Katharine Q. (August 24, 2008). "Jill Biden Heads Toward Life in the Spotlight". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  12. "Timeline of Biden's life and career". Associated Press. August 23, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  13. Evans, Heidi (December 28, 2008). "From a blind date to second lady, Jill Biden's coming into her own". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  14. Altman, Lawrence, M.D. (February 23, 1998). "The Doctor's World; Subtle Clues Are Often The Only Warnings Of Perilous Aneurysms". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  15. Leibovich, Mark (September 16, 2008). "Riding the Rails With Amtrak Joe". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  16. Naylor, Brian (October 8, 2007). "Biden's Road to Senate Took Tragic Turn". NPR. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  17. "Youngest Senator". United States Senate. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  18. Almanac of American Politics 2008, p. 366.
  19. Mayer, Jane; Jill Abramson (1994). Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-633184-4 . p. 213, 218, 336.
  20. Pride, Mike (December 1, 2007). "Biden a smart guy who has lived his family values". Concord Monitor. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
  21. Maureen Dowd (September 12, 1987). "Biden's Debate Finale: An Echo From Abroad". The New York Times.
  22. Dan Balz (January 1, 2007). "Biden Stumbles at the Starting Gate". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  23. "Biden Won't Serve As Secretary of State". Associated Press. San Francisco Chronicle. 29 November, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
  24. Murray, Shailagh (January 4, 2008). "Biden, Dodd Withdraw From Race". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  25. Associated Press (August 23, 2008). "Obama's veep message to supporters". Washington Post. Retrieved August 23, 2008."Text message is out and it's official". Archived from the original on 2012-07-30.
  26. "Welcome the Next Vice President". Retrieved 24 August 2008.
  27. Jurkowitz, Mark (14 September 2009). "Northern Exposure Still Dominates the News". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  28. "Debate poll says Biden won, Palin beat expectations". Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.. Retrieved 4 October, 2008.
  29. Gaudiano, Nicole (November 6, 2008). "VP's home awaits if Biden chooses". The News Journal. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  30. Lee, Carol E. (14 December 2008). "Biden to shrink VP role — big time". The Politico. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  31. 31.0 31.1 "Biden says he'll be different vice president". CNN. December 22, 2008. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
  32. Hornick, Ed and Levs, Josh (21 December 2008). "What Obama promised Biden". CNN. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  33. Scherer, Michael (January 7, 2009). "What Happened to the Stimulus?". Time.,8599,1908167-1,00.html. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
  34. Wilson, Scott (17 September, 2009). "Biden Pushes Iraqi Leaders On Vote Law, Oil-Bid Perks". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 September, 2009.
  35. "Honorary Degree Recipients". University of Scranton. 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  36. "Honorary Degree Recipients" (PDF). Saint Joseph's University. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
  37. "Senator Biden becomes Vice President-elect". Widener University School of Law. November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  38. "Senator Biden to Address 123rd Commencement Rites On May 19". Emerson College. May 2003. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  39. "Honorary Degree Citation for Joseph R. Biden Jr.". University of Delaware. May 29, 2004. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
  40. "Commencements". The Boston Globe. May 23, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Kates, William (May 10, 2009). "Biden tells Syracuse University graduates they have special opportunity to help shape history". Newsday.,0,5937836.story. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  42. "Five SU alumni to be honored with Arents Awards". Syracuse University. May 25, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  43. U.S. Senate (August 12, 2008). "Biden Honored for Making a Difference for Working Families". Press release. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  44. "Biden ends Balkans tour, heads to Lebanon". Agence France-Presse. May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2009.
  45. "Hall of Fame". Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
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