Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Overview


Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. (pron; born November 20, 1942) is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. A Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, he was a United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 from January 3, 1973 until his resignation on January 15, 2009, following his election to the Vice Presidency
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

.

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

 and lived there for ten years before moving to Delaware.
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Quotations

The decision of whether or not the country should go to war is slightly above your pay grade.

To Scott Ritter|Scott Ritter, in hearings about the disarmament process.

After nine months of doing this, there is no exploratory committee - I'm running [for President in 2008].

There's good reason to be excited. You have the first woman running who is qualified, and a very attractive African-American who has demonstrated crossover appeal. I got involved in politics 40 years ago during the civil rights movement, so yes, it's an exciting thing.

The average voter out there understands that the next president is going to have to be prepared to immediately step in without hesitation and end our involvement in Iraq. It's very difficult to figure out how to move on to broader foreign policy concerns without fixing Iraq first.

People ask if I can compete with the money of Hillary and Barack. I hope at the end of the day, they can compete with my ideas and my experience.

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.

Speaking of Presidential candidate Barack Obama
Encyclopedia
|>


Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. (pron; born November 20, 1942) is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. A Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, he was a United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 from January 3, 1973 until his resignation on January 15, 2009, following his election to the Vice Presidency
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

.

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

 and lived there for ten years before moving to Delaware. He became an attorney in 1969, and was elected to a county council in 1970. Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history. He was re-elected to the Senate six times, was the fourth most senior senator at the time of his resignation, and is the 15th-longest serving Senator in history. Biden was a long-time member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

. His strong advocacy helped bring about U.S. military assistance and intervention during the Bosnian War
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

. He opposed the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in 1991. He voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, but later proposed resolutions to alter U.S. strategy there. He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary is a standing committee of the United States Senate, of the United States Congress. The Judiciary Committee, with 18 members, is charged with conducting hearings prior to the Senate votes on confirmation of federal judges nominated by the...

, dealing with issues related to drug policy
Drug policy
A drug policy most often refers to a government's attempt to combat the negative effects of drug addiction and misuse in its society. Governments try to combat drug addiction with policies which address both the demand and supply of drugs, as well as policies which can mitigate the harms of drug...

, crime prevention, and civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

, and led creation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, , , was an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement that became law in 1994. It is the largest crime bill in the history of the US at 356 pages and will provide for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and...

 and Violence Against Women Act
Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is a United States federal law. It was passed as Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, , and signed as by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994...

. He chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 and Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

.

Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988
Joe Biden presidential campaign, 1988
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr., a Democratic United States Senator from Delaware at the time, was a candidate for President of the United States in the 1988 United States presidential election....

 and 2008
Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008
The Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008 began when Senator Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States on the January 7, 2007 edition of Meet the Press. He officially became a candidate on January 31, 2007 after filing papers with the Federal Elections Commission...

, both times dropping out early in the race. Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 selected Biden to be the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 U.S. presidential election
United States elections, 2008
The 2008 United States general elections were held on November 4. The result was a significant victory for the Democratic Party on the national level, as they increased majorities in both houses of Congress and won the Presidency. Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in the...

. Biden is the first Roman Catholic and the first Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

an to become Vice President of the United States. As Vice President, Biden has been heavily involved in Obama's decision-making process and held the oversight role for infrastructure spending from the Obama stimulus package aimed at counteracting the late-2000s recession. His ability to negotiate with Congressional Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 played a key role in bringing about the bipartisan deals that resulted in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 , was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 17, 2010....

 that resolved a taxation deadlock and the Budget Control Act of 2011
Budget Control Act of 2011
The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed by the 112th United States Congress signed into law by President Barack Obama. It brought conclusion to the 2011 United States debt ceiling crisis, which had threatened to lead the United States into sovereign default on or about August 3, 2011.The law...

 that resolved the United States debt ceiling crisis.

Early life and education


Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

, the son of Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. (1915–2002) and Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan (1917–2010). He was the first of four siblings in a Catholic family, of Irish and English descent (with roots in County Londonderry
County Londonderry
The place name Derry is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire meaning oak-grove or oak-wood. As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form Derry preferred by nationalists and Londonderry preferred by unionists...

). His paternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Robinette, was from a colonial family of French descent and married Joseph H. Biden, an oil businessman from Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

. He has two brothers, James Brian Biden and Francis W. Biden, and a sister, Valerie (Biden) Owens. His great-grandfather, Edward F. Blewitt, was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate
Pennsylvania State Senate
The Pennsylvania State Senate has been meeting since 1791. It is the upper house of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania state legislature. The State Senate meets in the State Capitol building in Harrisburg. Senators are elected for four year terms, staggered every two years such...

.

Biden's father had been very well-off earlier in his life, but had suffered several business reverses by the time Biden was born, and for several years the family had to live with Biden's maternal grandparents, the Finnegans. When the Scranton area went into economic decline during the 1950s, Biden's father could not find enough work. In 1953, the Biden family moved to an apartment in Claymont, Delaware
Claymont, Delaware
Claymont is a census-designated place in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. The population was 9,220 at the 2000 census.-History:...

, where they lived for a few years before moving to a house in Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington is the largest city in the state of Delaware, United States, and is located at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River. It is the county seat of New Castle County and one of the major cities in the Delaware Valley...

. Joe Biden Sr. then did better as a used car salesman, and the family's circumstances were middle class.

Biden attended the Archmere Academy
Archmere Academy
Archmere Academy is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school of 474 students in Claymont, Delaware. It is run independently within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.-History:...

 in Claymont, where he was a standout halfback
Halfback (American football)
A halfback, sometimes referred to as a tailback, is an offensive position in American football, which lines up in the backfield and generally is responsible for carrying the ball on run plays. Historically, from the 1870s through the 1950s, the halfback position was both an offensive and defensive...

/wide receiver
Wide receiver
A wide receiver is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is the key player in most of the passing plays. Only players in the backfield or the ends on the line are eligible to catch a forward pass. The two players who begin play at the ends of the offensive line are eligible...

 on the high school football
High school football
High school football, in North America, refers to the game of football as it is played in the United States and Canada. It ranks among the most popular interscholastic sports in both of these nations....

 team; he helped lead a perennially losing team to an undefeated season in his senior year. He played on the baseball team as well. During these years, he participated in an anti-segregation
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

 sit-in
Sit-in
A sit-in or sit-down is a form of protest that involves occupying seats or sitting down on the floor of an establishment.-Process:In a sit-in, protesters remain until they are evicted, usually by force, or arrested, or until their requests have been met...

 at a Wilmington theatre. Academically, Biden was undistinguished, but he was a natural leader among the students. He graduated in 1961.

Biden attended the University of Delaware
University of Delaware
The university is organized into seven colleges:* College of Agriculture and Natural Resources* College of Arts and Sciences* Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics* College of Earth, Ocean and Environment* College of Education and Human Development...

 in Newark
Newark, Delaware
Newark is an American city in New Castle County, Delaware, west-southwest of Wilmington. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 31,454. Newark is the home of the University of Delaware.- History :...

, where he was more interested in sports and socializing than in studying, although his classmates were impressed by his cramming abilities. He played halfback with the Blue Hens freshman football team, but he dropped a junior year plan to play for the varsity team as a defensive back
Defensive back
In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage; they are distinguished from the defensive line players and linebackers, who take positions directly behind or close to the line of...

, enabling him to spend more time with his out-of-state girlfriend. He double majored in history and political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1965, ranked 506th of 688 in his class.

He went on to receive his Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 from Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

's College of Law
Syracuse University College of Law
Syracuse University College of Law , founded in 1895, is a Juris Doctor degree-granting law school of Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. It is one of only four law schools in Upstate New York Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL), founded in 1895, is a Juris Doctor degree-granting law...

 in 1968, where by his own description he found it to be "the biggest bore in the world" and pulled many all-nighters to get by. During his first year there, he was accused of having plagiarized 5 of 15 pages of a law review article. Biden said it was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and he was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade
Grade (education)
Grades are standardized measurements of varying levels of comprehension within a subject area. Grades can be assigned in letters , as a range , as a number out of a possible total , as descriptors , in percentages, or, as is common in some post-secondary...

 of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record. He was admitted to the Delaware Bar
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

 in 1969.

Biden received five student draft deferments
Conscription in the United States
Conscription in the United States has been employed several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War...

 during this period, with the first coming in late 1963 and the last in early 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. In April 1968, he was reclassified by the Selective Service System
Selective Service System
The Selective Service System is a means by which the United States government maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription. Most male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of...

 as not available for service due to having had asthma as a teenager. Biden was not a part of the anti-Vietnam War movement; he would later say that at the time he was preoccupied with marriage and law school, and that he "wore sports coats ... not tie-dyed".

Negative impressions of drinking alcohol in the Biden and Finnegan families and in the neighborhood led to Joe Biden becoming a teetotaler
Teetotalism
Teetotalism refers to either the practice of or the promotion of complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices teetotalism is called a teetotaler or is simply said to be teetotal...

. Biden suffered from stuttering
Stuttering
Stuttering , also known as stammering , is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, and involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the stutterer is unable to produce sounds...

 through much of his childhood and into his twenties; he overcame it via long hours spent reciting poetry in front of a mirror.

Family and early political career


On August 27, 1966, Biden, then a law student, married Neilia Hunter, who was from an affluent background in Skaneateles, New York
Skaneateles (village), New York
Skaneateles is a village in the town of Skaneateles, Onondaga County, New York, United States. The village is named from and located on the shores of Skaneateles Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. The village, as of the 2000 census, has a population of 2,616 residents. The main highway through the...

 and had attended Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

. They had met in 1964 while on spring break
Spring break
Spring break – also known as March break, Study week or Reading week in the United Kingdom and some parts of Canada – is a recess in early spring at universities and schools in the United States, Canada, mainland China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the United...

 in the Bahamas, and he had overcome her parents' initial reluctance for her to be dating a Roman Catholic. They had three children, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III
Beau Biden
Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III is an American lawyer, Army JAG officer, and politician from Wilmington, Delaware. He serves as the Attorney General of Delaware and a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard...

 (born 1969), Robert Hunter
Hunter Biden
Robert Hunter Biden , second son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden, is a partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC and is Counsel to Boies, Schiller, Flexner, LLP, a New York based-law firm. Previously, he was a founding partner of Oldaker, Biden & Belair, LLP.He received a bachelor's degree from...

 (born 1970), and Naomi Christina (born 1971).

In 1969, Biden began practicing law in Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington is the largest city in the state of Delaware, United States, and is located at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River. It is the county seat of New Castle County and one of the major cities in the Delaware Valley...

, first as a public defender
Public defender
The term public defender is primarily used to refer to a criminal defense lawyer appointed to represent people charged with a crime but who cannot afford to hire an attorney in the United States and Brazil. The term is also applied to some ombudsman offices, for example in Jamaica, and is one way...

 and then with his own firm, Biden and Walsh. Corporate law
Corporate law
Corporate law is the study of how shareholders, directors, employees, creditors, and other stakeholders such as consumers, the community and the environment interact with one another. Corporate law is a part of a broader companies law...

, however, did not appeal to him and criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 did not pay well. He supplemented his income by managing properties. He ran as a Democrat for the New Castle
New Castle County, Delaware
New Castle County is the northernmost of the three counties of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of 2010 its population was 538,479, an increase of 7.6% over the previous decade. The county seat is Wilmington. The center of population of Delaware is located in New Castle County, in the town of...

 County Council on a liberal platform that included support for public housing in the suburban area. He won by a solid margin in the usually Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 district, and served from 1970 to 1972 while continuing his private law practice as well.

His entry into the 1972 U.S. Senate election in Delaware
United States Senate election in Delaware, 1972
The United States Senate election in Delaware, 1972 was a part of the United States Senate elections, 1972.-History:Longtime Delaware political figure and Republican incumbent Senator J. Caleb Boggs was considering retirement, which would likely have left U.S. Representative Pete du Pont and...

 presented Biden with a unique circumstance. Longtime Delaware political figure and Republican incumbent Senator J. Caleb Boggs
J. Caleb Boggs
James Caleb "Cale" Boggs was an American lawyer and politician from Claymont, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a veteran of World War II, and a member of the Republican Party, who served three terms as U.S. Representative from Delaware, two terms as Governor of Delaware, and two terms as...

 was considering retirement, which would likely have left U.S. Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Pete du Pont
Pierre S. du Pont, IV
Pierre Samuel "Pete" du Pont IV is an American lawyer and politician from Rockland, in New Castle County, Delaware, near Wilmington. He is a member of the Republican Party, who served three terms as U.S...

 and Wilmington Mayor Harry G. Haskell, Jr.
Harry G. Haskell, Jr.
Harry Garner Haskell, Jr. is an American businessman and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He is a member of the Republican Party, who served as U.S. Representative from Delaware.-Early life and family:...

 in a divisive primary
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

 fight. To avoid that, U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Richard M. Nixon helped convince Boggs to run again with full party support. No other Democrat wanted to run against Boggs. Biden's campaign had virtually no money and was given no chance of winning. It was managed by his sister Valerie Biden Owens (who would go on to manage his future campaigns as well) and staffed by other members of his family, and relied upon handed-out newsprint position papers and meeting voters face-to-face; the small size of the state and lack of a major media market made the approach feasible. Biden did receive some assistance from the AFL-CIO
AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly AFL–CIO, is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of 56 national and international unions, together representing more than 11 million workers...

 and Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell
Patrick Caddell
Patrick Hayward "Pat" Caddell is an American public opinion pollster and a political film consultant.-Biography:...

. Biden's campaign issues focused on withdrawal from Vietnam, the environment, civil rights, mass transit, more equitable taxation, health care, the public's dissatisfaction with politics-as-usual, and "change". During the summer Biden trailed by almost 30 percentage points, but his energy level, his attractive young family, and his ability to connect with voters' emotions gave the surging Biden an advantage over the ready-to-retire Boggs. Biden won the November 7, 1972 election in an upset by a margin of 3,162 votes.

On December 18, 1972, a few weeks after the election, Biden's wife and one-year-old daughter were killed in an automobile accident while Christmas shopping in Hockessin, Delaware
Hockessin, Delaware
Hockessin is a census-designated place in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. The population was 12,902 at the 2000 census. The place name may be derived from the Lenape word "hòkèsa" meaning "pieces of bark" or from a misspelling of "occasion," as pronounced by the Quakers who settled...

. Neilia Biden's station wagon was hit by a tractor-trailer as she pulled out from an intersection; the truck driver was cleared of any wrongdoing. Biden's two sons, Beau and Hunter, were critically injured in the accident, but both eventually made full recoveries. Biden considered resigning to care for them; he was persuaded not to by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield
Mike Mansfield
Michael Joseph Mansfield was an American Democratic politician and the longest-serving Majority Leader of the United States Senate, serving from 1961 to 1977. He also served as United States Ambassador to Japan for over ten years...

 and others and was sworn into office from one of their bedsides. The accident left Biden filled with both anger and religious doubt: "I liked to [walk around seedy neighborhoods] at night when I thought there was a better chance of finding a fight ... I had not known I was capable of such rage ... I felt God had played a horrible trick on me."

To be at home every day for his young sons, Biden began the practice of commuting every day by Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 train for 1½ hours each way from his home in the Wilmington suburbs to Washington, D.C., which he continued to do throughout his Senate career. In the aftermath of the accident, he had trouble focusing on work, and appeared to just go through the motions of being a senator. In his memoirs, Biden notes that staffers were taking bets on how long he would last. A single father for five years, Biden left standing orders that he be interrupted in the Senate at any time if his sons called. In remembrance of his wife and daughter, Biden does not work on December 18, the anniversary of the accident. Biden's elder son, Beau
Beau Biden
Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III is an American lawyer, Army JAG officer, and politician from Wilmington, Delaware. He serves as the Attorney General of Delaware and a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard...

, later became Delaware Attorney General
Delaware Attorney General
The Attorney General of Delaware is a constitutional officer of the U.S. state of Delaware, and is the chief law officer and the head of the State Department of Justice.-Description of the office:...

 and an Army Judge Advocate serving in Iraq; his younger son, Hunter
Hunter Biden
Robert Hunter Biden , second son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden, is a partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC and is Counsel to Boies, Schiller, Flexner, LLP, a New York based-law firm. Previously, he was a founding partner of Oldaker, Biden & Belair, LLP.He received a bachelor's degree from...

, became a Washington attorney and lobbyist.

In 1975, Biden met Jill Tracy Jacobs
Jill Biden
Jill Tracy Biden is an American educator and, as the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, is the Second Lady of the United States....

, who grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Willow Grove is a census-designated place in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. A community in Philadelphia's northern suburbs, the population was 15,726 at the 2010 census. It is located in Abington Township and Upper Moreland Township...

, and would become a teacher in Delaware. They had met on a blind date with the help of Biden's brother, although it turned out that Biden had already noticed her in a local advertisement. Biden would credit her with renewing his interest in both politics and life. On June 17, 1977, Biden and Jacobs married. They have one daughter, Ashley Blazer (born 1981), who later became a social worker. The Bidens are Roman Catholics and regularly attend Mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware
Greenville, Delaware
Greenville is a census-designated place in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. The population was 2,326 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Greenville is located at ....

.

United States Senator





When Biden took office on January 3, 1973, at age 30 (the minimum age to become a U.S. Senator), he became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history. In 1974, freshman Senator Biden was named one of the 200 Faces for the Future by Time magazine.

Biden was subsequently elected to six additional terms, in the elections of 1978
United States Senate elections, 1978
The United States Senate election of 1978 in the middle of Democratic President Jimmy Carter's term. The Democrats lost a net of three seats to the Republicans, leaving the balance of the chamber 58-41 in favor of the Democrats....

, 1984
United States Senate elections, 1984
The 1984 elections to the United States Senate coincided with the landslide re-election of President Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election...

, 1990
United States Senate elections, 1990
Elections to one-third of the seats in the United States Senate were held on Tuesday, November 6, 1990. The Democratic Party increased its majority with a net gain of one seat from the Republicans. This was in keeping with the trend that the party of the President often loses seats in a midterm...

, 1996
United States Senate elections, 1996
The 1996 elections to the United States Senate coincided with the 1996 presidential election, in which Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore were reelected President and Vice President of the United States, respectively....

, 2002
United States Senate elections, 2002
The 2002 United States Senate election featured a series of fiercely contested elections that resulted in a victory for the Republican Party, which gained two seats and thus a narrow majority from the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. Senators who were elected in 1996, known as Senate...

, and 2008
United States Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the United States Senate were held on November 4, 2008, with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Thirty-three seats were regular elections; the winners were eligible to serve six-year terms from January 3, 2009, to January 3, 2015, as members of Senate Class II...

, usually getting about 60 percent of the vote. He did not face strong opposition; Governor Pierre S. du Pont, IV
Pierre S. du Pont, IV
Pierre Samuel "Pete" du Pont IV is an American lawyer and politician from Rockland, in New Castle County, Delaware, near Wilmington. He is a member of the Republican Party, who served three terms as U.S...

 chose not to run against him in 1984. Biden spent 28 years as a junior senator due to the two-year seniority of his Republican colleague William V. Roth, Jr.
William V. Roth, Jr.
William Victor "Bill" Roth, Jr. was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a veteran of World War II and a member of the Republican Party, who served as U.S. Representative and U.S...

. After Roth was defeated for re-election by Tom Carper in 2000, Biden became Delaware's senior senator. He then became the longest-serving senator in Delaware history. In May 1999, Biden set the mark for youngest senator to cast 10,000 votes.

In February 1988, after suffering from several episodes of increasingly severe neck pain, Biden was taken by long-distance ambulance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the United States Army's flagship medical center until 2011. Located on 113 acres in Washington, D.C., it served more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military...

 and given lifesaving surgery to correct an intracranial berry aneurysm
Intracranial berry aneurysm
An intracranial berry aneurysm, also known as a saccular aneurysm, is a sac-like outpouching in a cerebral blood vessel, which can seem berry-shaped, hence the name. Once a berry aneurysm has formed it is likely to rupture, causing a stroke...

 that had begun leaking; the situation was serious enough that a priest had administered last rites
Last Rites
The Last Rites are the very last prayers and ministrations given to many Christians before death. The last rites go by various names and include different practices in different Christian traditions...

 at the hospital. While recuperating, he suffered a pulmonary embolism
Pulmonary embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream . Usually this is due to embolism of a thrombus from the deep veins in the legs, a process termed venous thromboembolism...

, which represented a major complication. Another operation to repair a second aneurysm, which had caused no symptoms but was also at risk from bursting, was performed in May 1988. The hospitalization and recovery kept Biden from his duties in the U.S. Senate for seven months. Biden has had no recurrences or effects from the aneurysms since then.

Judiciary Committee


Biden was a long-time member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary is a standing committee of the United States Senate, of the United States Congress. The Judiciary Committee, with 18 members, is charged with conducting hearings prior to the Senate votes on confirmation of federal judges nominated by the...

, which he chaired from 1987 until 1995 and on which he served as ranking minority member
Ranking member
In United States politics, a ranking member is the second-most senior member of a congressional or state legislative committee from the majority party. Another usage refers to the most senior member of a congressional or state legislative committee from the minority party. This second usage, often...

 from 1981 until 1987 and again from 1995 until 1997. In this capacity, he dealt with issues related to drug policy
Drug policy
A drug policy most often refers to a government's attempt to combat the negative effects of drug addiction and misuse in its society. Governments try to combat drug addiction with policies which address both the demand and supply of drugs, as well as policies which can mitigate the harms of drug...

, crime prevention, and civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

.

While chairman, Biden presided over the two most contentious U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 confirmation hearings in history, those for Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 in 1987 and Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

 in 1991. In the Bork hearings
Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination
The Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination refers to the 1987 nomination by President Ronald Reagan of Judge Robert Bork to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate rejected his nomination.-Nomination:...

, Biden stated his opposition to Bork soon after the nomination, reversing an approval in an interview of a hypothetical Bork nomination he had made the previous year and angering conservatives who thought he could not conduct the hearings dispassionately. At the close, Biden won praise for conducting the proceedings fairly and with good humor and courage, as his 1988 presidential campaign collapsed in the middle of the hearings. Rejecting some of the less intellectually honest arguments that other Bork opponents were making, Biden framed his discussion around the belief that the U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 provides rights to liberty and privacy that extend beyond those explicitly enumerated in the text, and that Bork's strong originalism
Originalism
In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that tries to discover the original meaning or intent of the constitution. It is based on the principle that the judiciary is not supposed to create, amend or repeal laws but only to uphold...

 was ideologically incompatible with that view. Bork's nomination was rejected in the committee by a 9–5 vote, and then rejected in the full Senate by a 58–42 margin.

In the Thomas hearings
Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination
On July 1, 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court of the United States to replace Thurgood Marshall, who had announced his retirement...

, Biden's questions on constitutional issues were often long and convoluted, sometimes such that Thomas forgot the question being asked. Thomas later wrote that despite earlier private assurances from the senator, Biden's questions had been akin to a beanball
Beanball
"Beanball" is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking him such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player's head...

. The nomination came out of the committee without a recommendation, with Biden opposed. In part due to his own bad experiences in 1987 with his presidential campaign, Biden was reluctant to let personal matters enter into the hearings. Biden initially shared with committee, but not the public, Anita Hill
Anita Hill
Anita Faye Hill is an American attorney and academic—presently a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She became a national figure in 1991 when she alleged that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had...

's sexual harassment charges, on the grounds she was not yet willing to testify. After she did, Biden did not permit other witnesses to testify further on her behalf, such as Angela Wright (who made a similar charge) and experts on harassment. Biden said he was striving to preserve Thomas's right to privacy and the decency of the hearings. The nomination was approved by a 52–48 vote in the full Senate, with Biden again opposed. During and afterwards, Biden was strongly criticized by liberal legal groups and women's groups for having mishandled the hearings and having not done enough to support Hill. Biden subsequently sought out women to serve on the Judiciary Committee and emphasized women's issues in the committee's legislative agenda.


Biden was involved in crafting many federal crime laws. In 1984, he was Democratic floor manager for the successful passage of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act; civil libertarians praised him for modifying some of the Act's provisions, and it was his most important legislative accomplishment at that point in time. He later spearheaded the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, , , was an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement that became law in 1994. It is the largest crime bill in the history of the US at 356 pages and will provide for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and...

 of 1994, also known as the Biden Crime Law, and the landmark Violence Against Women Act
Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is a United States federal law. It was passed as Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, , and signed as by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994...

 of 1994 (VAWA), which contains a broad array of measures to combat domestic violence
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

 and provides billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

-based crimes. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Morrison
United States v. Morrison
United States v. Morrison, is a United States Supreme Court decision which held that parts of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 were unconstitutional because they exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.-...

that the section of VAWA allowing a federal civil remedy for victims of gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

-motivated violence exceeded Congress's authority and therefore was unconstitutional
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. Congress reauthorized VAWA in 2000 and 2005. Biden has said, "I consider the Violence Against Women Act the single most significant legislation that I’ve crafted during my 35-year tenure in the Senate." In 2004 and 2005, Biden enlisted major American technology companies in diagnosing the problems of the Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

-based National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24-hour, confidential, toll-free hotline created through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Hotline staff immediately connect the caller to a service provider in his or her area...

, and to donate equipment and expertise to it in a successful effort to improve its services.

Biden was critical of the actions of Independent Counsel
United States Office of the Independent Counsel
United States Office of the Independent Counsel was an independent prosecutor — distinct from the Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice — that provided reports to the Congress under . The office was terminated in 1999 and replaced by the U.S...

 Kenneth Starr
Kenneth Starr
Kenneth Winston "Ken" Starr is an American lawyer and educational administrator who has also been a federal judge. He is best known for his investigation of figures during the Clinton administration....

 during the 1990s Whitewater controversy
Whitewater controversy
The Whitewater controversy was an American politics controversy that began with the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim and Susan McDougal in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.A New York...

 and Lewinsky scandal
Lewinsky scandal
The Lewinsky scandal was a political sex scandal emerging in 1998 from a sexual relationship between United States President Bill Clinton and a 25-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of...

 investigations, and said "it's going to be a cold day in hell" before another Independent Counsel is granted the same powers. Biden voted to acquit on both charges during the impeachment of President Clinton
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of...

.

As chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus
International Narcotics Control Caucus
The United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control was created to monitor and encourage the U.S...

, Biden wrote the laws that created the U.S. "Drug Czar
Drug Czar
Drug Czar is an informal name for the person who directs drug-control policies in the United States, following the U.S. use of the 'czar' term. The 'drug czar' title was first published in a 1982 news story by United Press International which reported that “Senators... voted 62–34 to establish a...

", who oversees and coordinates national drug control policy. In April 2003, he introduced the controversial Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act, also known as the RAVE Act. He continued to work to stop the spread of "date rape
Date rape
"Date rape", often referred to as acquaintance rape, is an assault or attempted assault usually committed by a new acquaintance involving sexual intercourse without mutual consent....

 drugs" such as flunitrazepam
Flunitrazepam
Flunitrazepam is marketed as a potent hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, amnestic, and skeletal muscle relaxant drug most commonly known as Rohypnol...

, and drugs such as Ecstasy and Ketamine
Ketamine
Ketamine is a drug used in human and veterinary medicine. Its hydrochloride salt is sold as Ketanest, Ketaset, and Ketalar. Pharmacologically, ketamine is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist...

. In 2004, he worked to pass a bill outlawing steroid
Steroid
A steroid is a type of organic compound that contains a characteristic arrangement of four cycloalkane rings that are joined to each other. Examples of steroids include the dietary fat cholesterol, the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone, and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone.The core...

s like androstenedione
Androstenedione
Androstenedione is a 19-carbon steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands and the gonads as an intermediate step in the biochemical pathway that produces the androgen testosterone and the estrogens estrone and estradiol.-Synthesis:Androstenedione is the common precursor of male and female sex...

, the drug used by many baseball players.

Biden's legislation to promote college aid and loan
Student loan
A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education...

 programs allows families to deduct on their annual income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 returns up to $10,000 per year in higher education expenses. His "Kids 2000" legislation established a public/private partnership to provide computer centers, teachers, Internet access, and technical training to young people, particularly to low-income and at-risk youth.

Foreign Relations Committee


Biden was also a long-time member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

. In 1997, he became the ranking minority member
Ranking member
In United States politics, a ranking member is the second-most senior member of a congressional or state legislative committee from the majority party. Another usage refers to the most senior member of a congressional or state legislative committee from the minority party. This second usage, often...

 and chaired the committee in January 2001 and from June 2001 through 2003. When Democrats re-took control of the Senate following the 2006 elections
United States Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the United States Senate were held on November 7, 2006, with 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate being contested. Senators are elected for six-year terms, with one third of the Senate seats up for a vote every two years. The term of office for those elected in 2006 runs...

, Biden again assumed the top spot on the committee in 2007. Biden was generally a liberal internationalist in foreign policy. He collaborated effectively with important Republican Senate figures such as Richard Lugar and Jesse Helms
Jesse Helms
Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr. was a five-term Republican United States Senator from North Carolina who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001...

 and sometimes went against elements of his own party. Biden was also co-chair of the NATO Observer Group in the Senate. A partial list covering this time showed Biden meeting with some 150 leaders from nearly 60 countries and international organizations. Biden held frequent hearings as chair of the committee, as well as holding many subcommittee hearings during the three times he chaired the Subcommittee on European Affairs
United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs
The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs is one of seven subcommittees of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.-Jurisdiction:...

.

During his first decade in the Senate, Biden focused on arms control
Arms control
Arms control is an umbrella term for restrictions upon the development, production, stockpiling, proliferation, and usage of weapons, especially weapons of mass destruction...

 issues. In response to the refusal of the U.S. Congress to ratify the SALT II Treaty signed in 1979 by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 and President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Biden took the initiative to meet the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet . Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy until he retired in 1987. In the West he was given the...

, educated him about American concerns and interests, and secured several changes to address objections of the Foreign Relations Committee. When the Reagan administration
Reagan Administration
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989....

 wanted to interpret the 1972 SALT I Treaty loosely in order to allow the Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategic Defense Initiative
The Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic...

 to proceed, Biden argued for strict adherence to the treaty's terms. Biden clashed again with the Reagan administration in 1986 over economic sanctions against South Africa, leading to a heated exchange between the senator and Secretary of State George P. Shultz
George P. Shultz
George Pratt Shultz is an American economist, statesman, and businessman. He served as the United States Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1972 to 1974, and as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989...

.

Biden became interested in the Yugoslav Wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 after hearing about Serbian
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 abuses during the Croatian War of Independence
Croatian War of Independence
The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia —and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat...

 in 1991. Once the Bosnian War
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

 broke out, Biden was among the first to call for the "lift and strike
Lift and strike (Bosnia)
Lift and strike was the name of an American policy, which sought to improve the chances of a political settlement in the Bosnian War. The idea of the proposal was to lift a United Nations arms embargo in order to allow the poorly armed Bosniaks to arm with imported weapons, thus balancing the...

" policy of lifting the arms embargo, training Bosnian Muslims
Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

 and supporting them with NATO air strikes, and investigating war crimes. Both the George H. W. Bush administration and Clinton administration were reluctant to implement the policy, fearing Balkan entanglement. In April 2003, Biden spent a week in the Balkans and held a tense three-hour meeting with Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

. Biden related that he told Milošević, "I think you're a damn war criminal and you should be tried as one." Biden wrote an amendment in 1992 to compel the Bush administration to arm the Bosnians, but deferred in 1994 to a somewhat softer stance preferred by the Clinton administration, before signing on the following year to a stronger measure sponsored by Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

 and Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

. The 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina then led to the Dayton Agreement
Dayton Agreement
The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Agreement, Dayton Accords, Paris Protocol or Dayton-Paris Agreement, is the peace agreement reached at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio in November 1995, and formally signed in Paris on...

 and a successful NATO peacekeeping effort. Biden has called his role in affecting Balkans policy in the mid-1990s his "proudest moment in public life" that related to foreign policy. In 1999, during the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

, Biden supported the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia and Montenegro, and co-sponsored with his friend John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 the McCain-Biden Kosovo Resolution, which called on President Clinton to use all necessary force, including ground troops, to confront Milosevic over Serbian actions in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

. In 1998, Congressional Quarterly
Congressional Quarterly
Congressional Quarterly, Inc., or CQ, is a privately owned publishing company that produces a number of publications reporting primarily on the United States Congress...

named Biden one of "Twelve Who Made a Difference" for playing a lead role in several foreign policy matters, including NATO enlargement and the successful passage of bills to streamline foreign affairs agencies and punish religious persecution overseas.


Biden had voted against authorization for the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in 1991, siding with 45 of the 55 Democratic senators; he said the U.S. was bearing almost all the burden in the anti-Iraq coalition
Coalition of the Gulf War
The Coalition of the Gulf War were the countries officially opposed to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait during the 1990 / 1991 Persian Gulf War.-Coalition by number of military personnel:-United States:*Norman Schwarzkopf*Colin Powell*Calvin Waller...

. Biden was a strong supporter of the 2001 war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, saying "Whatever it takes, we should do it." Regarding Iraq, Biden stated in 2002 that Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 was a threat to national security, and that there was no option but to eliminate that threat. The Bush administration rejected an effort Biden undertook with Senator Richard Lugar to pass a resolution authorizing military action only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts. In October 2002, Biden voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq
Iraq Resolution
The Iraq Resolution or the Iraq War Resolution is a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243, authorizing military action against Iraq.-Contents:The resolution cited many factors to justify the use of military force against...

, justifying the Iraq War. While he soon became a critic of the war and viewed his vote as a "mistake", he did not push to require a U.S. withdrawal. He supported the appropriations to pay for the occupation, but argued repeatedly that the war should be internationalized, that more soldiers were needed, and that the Bush administration should "level with the American people" about the cost and length of the conflict.

By late 2006, Biden's stance had shifted, and he opposed the troop surge of 2007
Iraq War troop surge of 2007
In the context of the Iraq War, the surge refers to United States President George W. Bush's 2007 increase in the number of American troops in order to provide security to Baghdad and Al Anbar Province....

, saying General David Petraeus
David Petraeus
David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

 was "dead, flat wrong" in believing the surge could work. Biden was instead a leading advocate for dividing Iraq into a loose federation
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 of three ethnic
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 states. In November 2006, Biden and Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, released a comprehensive strategy to end sectarian violence in Iraq. Rather than continuing the present approach or withdrawing, the plan called for "a third way": federalizing Iraq and giving Kurd
Kürd
Kürd or Kyurd or Kyurt may refer to:*Kürd Eldarbəyli, Azerbaijan*Kürd Mahrızlı, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Goychay, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Jalilabad, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Qabala, Azerbaijan*Qurdbayram, Azerbaijan...

s, Shiites, and Sunnis
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 "breathing room" in their own regions. In September 2007, a non-binding resolution passed the Senate endorsing such a scheme. However, the idea was unfamiliar, had no political constituency, and failed to gain traction. Iraq’s political leadership united in denouncing the resolution as a de facto partitioning of the country, and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
Embassy of the United States in Baghdad
The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad is the diplomatic mission of the United States in Iraq. It is located in Baghdad and is home to the Ambassador to Iraq. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey is currently the Chief of Mission....

 issued a statement distancing itself.

In March 2004, Biden secured the brief release of Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

n democracy activist and political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

 Fathi Eljahmi
Fathi Eljahmi
Fathi Eljahmi was Libya's "most prominent democratic dissident" until his death, and received significant international attention....

, after meeting with leader Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 in Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

. In May 2008, Biden sharply criticized President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 for his speech to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

's Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in which he suggested that some Democrats were acting in the same way some Western leaders did when they appeased Hitler in the runup to World War II. Biden stated: "This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement." Biden later apologized for using the expletive. Biden further stated, "Since when does this administration think that if you sit down, you have to eliminate the word 'no' from your vocabulary?"

Delaware matters



Biden was a familiar figure to his Delaware constituency, by virtue of his daily train commuting from there, and generally sought to attend to state needs. Biden was a strong supporter of increased Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 funding and rail security; he hosted barbecues and an annual Christmas dinner for the Amtrak crews, and they would sometimes hold the last train of the night a few minutes so he could catch it. (He earned the nickname "Amtrak Joe" as a result, and in 2011, Amtrak's Wilmington Station was named the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station, in honor of the over 7,000 trips he made from there.) He was an advocate for Delaware military installations, including Dover Air Force Base
Dover Air Force Base
Dover Air Force Base or Dover AFB is a United States Air Force base located two miles southeast of the city of Dover, Delaware.-Units:...

 and New Castle Air National Guard Base
New Castle Air National Guard Base
New Castle National Guard Base is a United States Air Force base, located at New Castle Airport in New Castle County, Delaware.-Overview:...

.

In 1975, Biden broke from liberal orthodoxy
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 when he took legislative action to limit desegregation busing. In doing so, he said busing was a "bankrupt idea [that violated] the cardinal rule of common sense," and that his opposition would make it easier for other liberals to follow suit. Three years later, Wilmington's federally-mandated cross-district busing plan generated much turmoil, and in trying to legislate a compromise solution Biden found himself alienating both black and white voters for a while.

Since 1991, Biden has served as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law
Widener University School of Law
Widener University School of Law is the ABA accredited law school of Widener University. The school, founded in 1971 as the Delaware Law School, operates on two of Widener's campuses, one in Wilmington, Delaware, and the other in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania....

, Delaware's only law school, where he has taught a seminar on constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

. The seminar has been one of Widener's most popular, often with a waiting list for enrollment. Biden has typically co-taught the course with another professor, taking on at least half the course minutes and sometimes flying back from overseas to make one of the classes.

Biden was a sponsor of bankruptcy legislation during the 2000s, which was sought by MBNA
MBNA
MBNA Corporation was a bank holding company and parent company of wholly owned subsidiary MBNA America Bank, N.A., headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, prior to being acquired by Bank of America in 2006...

, one of Delaware's largest companies, and other credit card issuers. Biden fought for certain amendments to the bill that would indirectly protect homeowners and forbid anti-abortion felons from using bankruptcy to discharge fines; the overall bill was vetoed by Bill Clinton in 2000 but then finally passed as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 , is a legislative act that made several significant changes to the United States Bankruptcy Code...

 in 2005, with Biden supporting. The downstate Sussex County
Sussex County, Delaware
Sussex County is a county located in the southern part of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of 2010 the population was 197,145, an increase of 25.9% over the previous decade. The county seat is Georgetown. The Seaford Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Sussex County.Sussex County is...

 region is the nation's top chicken-producing area, and Biden held up trade agreements with Russia when that country stopped importing U.S. chickens.

In 2007, Biden requested and gained $67 million worth of projects for his constituents through congressional earmarks
Earmark (politics)
In United States politics, an earmark is a legislative provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees...

.

Biden sits on the board of advisors of the Close Up Foundation
Close Up Foundation
The Close Up Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization in the United States. Founded in 1971 Close Up offers high school students an in-depth view of the democratic process, by interactive participation.-Participation:...

, which brings high school students to Washington for interaction with legislators on Capitol Hill.

Characteristics as senator


With a net worth
Net worth
In business, net worth is the total assets minus total outside liabilities of an individual or a company. For a company, this is called shareholders' preference and may be referred to as book value. Net worth is stated as at a particular year in time...

 between $59,000 and $366,000, and almost no outside income or investment income, he was consistently ranked as one of the least wealthy members of the Senate. Biden stated that he was listed as the second poorest member in Congress, a distinction that he was not proud of, but attributed to being elected early in his career. Biden realized early in his senatorial career how vulnerable poorer public officials are to offers of financial contributions in exchange for policy support, and he pushed campaign finance reform
Campaign finance reform
Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns....

 measures during his first term.
During his years as a senator, Biden amassed a reputation for loquaciousness, with his questions and remarks during Senate hearings being especially known for being long-winded. He has been a strong speaker and debater and a frequent and effective guest on the Sunday morning talk shows. In public appearances, he is known to deviate from prepared remarks at will. According to political analyst Mark Halperin
Mark Halperin
Mark E. Halperin is the senior political analyst for Time magazine, Time.com, and MSNBC and serves as a board member on the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. He is the co-author of Game Change.-Personal:Mark Halperin is the son of Morton Halperin and Ina Young. He has...

, he has shown "a persistent tendency to say silly, offensive, and off-putting things"; The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

writes that Biden's "weak filters make him capable of blurting out pretty much anything". Nor is Biden known for modesty; journalist James Traub
James Traub
James Traub, born in 1954, is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, where he has worked since 1998. From 1994 to 1997, he was a staff writer for The New Yorker. He has also written for The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review and Foreign Affairs...

 has written that "Biden’s vanity and his regard for his own gifts seem considerable even by the rarefied standards of the U.S. Senate."

Political writer Howard Fineman
Howard Fineman
Howard Fineman is an American journalist who is senior politics editor at the Huffington Post. Prior to his move to Huffington Post in October 2010, he was Newsweek’s Chief Political Correspondent, Senior Editor and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief. An award-winning writer, Fineman also is an NBC...

 has said that, "Biden is not an academic, he’s not a theoretical thinker, he’s a great street pol. He comes from a long line of working people in Scranton—auto salesmen, car dealers, people who know how to make a sale. He has that great Irish gift." Political columnist David S. Broder
David S. Broder
David Salzer Broder was an American journalist, writing for The Washington Post for over forty years. He also was an author, television news show pundit, and university lecturer....

 has viewed Biden as having grown since he came to Washington and since his failed 1988 presidential bid: "He responds to real people—that’s been consistent throughout. And his ability to understand himself and deal with other politicians has gotten much much better." Traub concludes that "Biden is the kind of fundamentally happy person who can be as generous toward others as he is to himself."

Final year


After ending his second presidential bid in January 2008, Biden focused instead on running for a seventh Senate term against Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
Christine Therese O'Donnell is an American Republican Party politician who founded two advocacy organizations. She has been an advocate for nonprofit clients and nonprofit causes for nearly 20 years. A Tea Party favorite, and with strong financial support from the Tea Party movement, she defeated...

. In late August 2008, he was picked by Obama to be his running mate. Biden nevertheless continued to run for Senate re-election as well as Vice President, as permitted by Delaware state law. On November 4, 2008, Biden was re-elected as senator, in addition to winning the vice presidency.

Having won both races, Biden made a point of holding off his resignation from the Senate so that he could be sworn in for his seventh term on January 6, 2009. He became the youngest senator ever to be sworn in for a seventh full term, and said, "In all my life, the greatest honor bestowed upon me has been serving the people of Delaware as their United States senator." Biden cast his last Senate vote on January 15, supporting the release of the second $350 billion for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Biden resigned from the Senate later that day; in emotional farewell remarks on the Senate floor, where he had spent most of his adult life, Biden said, "Every good thing I have seen happen here, every bold step taken in the 36-plus years I have been here, came not from the application of pressure by interest groups, but through the maturation of personal relationships."

Delaware's Democratic governor, Ruth Ann Minner
Ruth Ann Minner
Ruth Ann Minner is an American politician and businesswoman from Milford, in Kent County, Delaware. She is a member of the Democratic Party who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as the 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and two terms as the first female Governor of Delaware.-Early life...

, announced on November 24, 2008, that she would appoint Biden's longtime senior adviser Ted Kaufman
Ted Kaufman
Edward E. "Ted" Kaufman is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Delaware from 2009 to 2010. Since 2010, he has chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel in the United States federal government; he is the second person to hold that post, succeeding inaugural holder...

 to succeed Biden in the Senate. Kaufman said he would only serve two years, until Delaware's special senate election in 2010
United States Senate special election in Delaware, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate special election in Delaware took place on November 2, 2010 concurrently with elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. It was a special election to...

. Biden's son Beau
Beau Biden
Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III is an American lawyer, Army JAG officer, and politician from Wilmington, Delaware. He serves as the Attorney General of Delaware and a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard...

 ruled himself out of the 2008 selection process due to his impending tour in Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard
Delaware Army National Guard
The Delaware National Guard comprises both Army and Air National Guard components. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state missions. In fact, the National Guard is the only United States military force empowered to function in a...

. He was a possible candidate for the 2010 special election, but in early 2010 said he would not run for the seat.

Political positions



A method that political scientists use for gauging ideology is to compare the annual ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action is an American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research and supporting progressive candidates.-History:...

 (ADA) with the ratings by the American Conservative Union
American Conservative Union
The American Conservative Union is an American political organization advocating conservative policies, and is the oldest such conservative lobbying organization in the country.-Organization:...

 (ACU). Biden has a lifetime liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 72 percent score from the ADA through 2004, while the ACU awarded Biden a lifetime conservative rating of 13 percent through 2008.
Using another metric, Biden has a lifetime average liberal score of 77.5 percent, according to a National Journal
National Journal
National Journal is a nonpartisan American weekly magazine that reports on the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends. National Journal was first published in 1969. Times Mirror owned the magazine from 1986 to 1997, when it was purchased by David G. Bradley...

analysis that places him ideologically among the center of Senate Democrats.
The Almanac of American Politics rates congressional votes as liberal or conservative on the political spectrum
Political spectrum
A political spectrum is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions....

, in three policy areas: economic, social, and foreign. For 2005–2006, Biden's average ratings were as follows: the economic rating was 80 percent liberal and 13 percent conservative, the social rating was 78 percent liberal and 18 percent conservative, and the foreign rating was 71 percent liberal and 25 percent conservative. This has not changed much over time; his liberal ratings in the mid-1980s were also in the 70–80 percent range.

Various advocacy groups have given Biden scores or grades as to how well his votes align with the positions of each group.
The American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 (ACLU) gives him an 86 percent lifetime score, with a 91 percent score for the 110th Congress.
Biden received a 91 percent voting record from the National Education Association
National Education Association
The National Education Association is the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States, representing public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become...

 (NEA) showing a pro-teacher union voting record. Biden opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a national wildlife refuge in northeastern Alaska, United States. It consists of in the Alaska North Slope region. It is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the country, slightly larger than the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge...

 and supports governmental funding to find new energy sources. Biden believes action must be taken on global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. He co-sponsored the Sense of the Senate resolution calling on the United States to be a part of the United Nations climate negotiations and the Boxer-Sanders Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act
Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007
The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007 was proposed in the 110th United States Congress by Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer on January 15, 2007.It was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works....

, the most stringent climate bill in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. Biden cites high health care and energy costs as two major threats to the prosperity of American businesses, and believes that addressing these issues will improve American economic competitiveness. Biden was given a 100 percent approval rating from AFL-CIO
AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly AFL–CIO, is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of 56 national and international unions, together representing more than 11 million workers...

 indicating a heavily pro-union voting record. Biden is opposed to the privatization of Social Security
Social Security debate (United States)
This article concerns proposals to change the Social Security system in the United States. Social Security is a social insurance program officially called "Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance" , in reference to its three components. It is primarily funded through a dedicated payroll tax...

 and was given an 89 percent approval rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans
Alliance for Retired Americans
The Alliance for Retired Americans is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of retired trade union members affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Its predecessor organization was known as the National Council of Senior Citizens....

 (ARA), an organization of retired union members.

Presidential campaigns


Biden has twice run for the Democratic nomination for President, first in 1988, and again in 2008. He first considered running in 1984, after he gained notice for giving speeches to party audiences that simultaneously scolded and encouraged Democrats. He chose not to run in 1992 in part because he had voted against the resolution authorizing the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. He considered joining the Democratic field of candidates for the 2004 presidential race
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

 but in August 2003 decided otherwise, saying he did not have enough time and any attempt would be too much of a long shot. In May 2004, Biden urged Republican Senator John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 to run as vice president with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

, saying the cross-party ticket would help heal the "vicious rift" in U.S. politics. During this time, Biden was also widely discussed as a possible Secretary of State in a Democratic administration.

1988




In 1987, Biden ran as a Democratic presidential candidate, formally declaring his candidacy at the Wilmington train station on June 9, 1987. When the campaign began, Biden was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his speaking ability on the stump, his appeal to Baby Boomer
Baby boomer
A baby boomer is a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom and who grew up during the period between 1946 and 1964. The term "baby boomer" is sometimes used in a cultural context. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve broad consensus of a precise definition, even...

s, his high profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the upcoming Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination
Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination
The Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination refers to the 1987 nomination by President Ronald Reagan of Judge Robert Bork to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate rejected his nomination.-Nomination:...

 hearings, and his fundraising appeal. He raised $1.7 million in the first quarter of 1987, more than any other candidate. Biden received considerable attention in the summer of 1986 when he excoriated Secretary of State George P. Shultz at a Senate hearing because of the Reagan administration
Reagan Administration
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989....

's support of South Africa, which continued to practice the apartheid system.

By August 1987, Biden's campaign, whose messaging was confused due to staff rivalries, had begun to lag behind those of Michael Dukakis
Michael Dukakis
Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

 and Dick Gephardt
Dick Gephardt
Richard Andrew "Dick" Gephardt is a lobbyist and former prominent American politician of the Democratic Party. Gephardt served as a U.S. Representative from Missouri from January 3, 1977, until January 3, 2005, serving as House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995, and as Minority Leader from 1995 to...

, although he had still raised more funds than all candidates but Dukakis, and was seeing an upturn in Iowa polls. In September 1987, the campaign ran into trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing
Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...

 a speech that had been made by Neil Kinnock
Neil Kinnock
Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years making him...

, leader of the British Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

. Kinnock’s speech included the lines:

"Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? [Then pointing to his wife in the audience] Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?"
While Biden’s speech included the lines:

"I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? [Then pointing to his wife in the audience] Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I'm the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?"
Though Biden had cited Kinnock as the source for the formulation many times before, he made no reference to the original source at the August 23 Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair
The Iowa State Fair is an annual state fair held in Des Moines, Iowa.The 2011 Iowa State Fair was held August 11–21 and marked 100 years of the butter cow sculpture.-History:...

 debate in question or in another appearance. While political speeches often appropriate ideas and language from each other, Biden's use came under more scrutiny because he somewhat distorted his own family's background to match Kinnock's.

A few days later, Biden's plagiarism incident in law school came to public light. It was also revealed that when earlier questioned by a New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 resident about his grades in law school, Biden had falsely stated that he had graduated in the "top half" of his class, that he had attended law school on a full scholarship, and that he had received three degrees in college. He had in fact earned a single B.A. with a double major in history and political science, had received a half scholarship to law school based on financial need with some additional assistance based in part upon academics, and had graduated 76th of 85 in his law school class.

The Kinnock and school revelations were magnified by the limited amount of other news about the nomination race at the time, when most of the public were not yet paying attention to any of the campaigns; Biden thus fell into what The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

writer Paul Taylor described as that year's trend, a "trial by media ordeal". Biden lacked a strong demographic or political group of support to help him survive the crisis. He withdrew from the nomination race on September 23, 1987, saying his candidacy had been overrun by "the exaggerated shadow" of his past mistakes. After Biden withdrew from the race, it was revealed that the Dukakis campaign had secretly made a video highlighting the Biden–Kinnock comparison and distributed it to news outlets. Also later in 1987, the Delaware Supreme Court
Delaware Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Delaware is the sole appellate court in the United States' state of Delaware. Because Delaware is a popular haven for corporations, the Court has developed a worldwide reputation as a respected source of corporate law decisions, particularly in the area of mergers and...

's Board of Professional Responsibility cleared Biden of the law school plagiarism charges regarding his standing as a lawyer, saying Biden had "not violated any rules".

2008




Biden declared his candidacy for president on January 31, 2007, although he had discussed running for months prior, and first made a formal announcement to Tim Russert
Tim Russert
Timothy John "Tim" Russert was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted the eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview...

 on Meet the Press
Meet the Press
Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program produced by NBC. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, despite bearing little resemblance to the original format of the program seen in its television debut on November 6, 1947. It has been...

on January 7, stating he would "be the best Biden I can be." In January 2006, Delaware newspaper columnist Harry F. Themal wrote that Biden "occupies the sensible center of the Democratic Party." Themal concludes that this is the position Biden desires, and that in a campaign "he plans to stress the dangers to the security of the average American, not just from the terrorist threat, but from the lack of health assistance, crime, and energy dependence on unstable parts of the world."

During his campaign, Biden focused on the war in Iraq and his support for the implementation of the Biden-Gelb plan to achieve political success. He touted his record in the Senate as the head of major congressional committees and his experience on foreign policy. Despite speculation to the contrary, Biden rejected the notion of accepting the position of Secretary of State, focusing only on the presidency. At a 2007 campaign event, Biden said, "I know a lot of my opponents out there say I'd be a great Secretary of State. Seriously, every one of them. Do you watch any of the debates? 'Joe's right, Joe's right, Joe's right.'" Other candidates' comments that "Joe is right" in the Democratic debates
Democratic Party (United States) presidential debates, 2008
The 2008 Democratic Presidential Debates were political debates prior to and during the 2008 Democratic Primaries. The debates began on April 26, 2007, in Orangeburg, South Carolina.-Election 2008:...

 were converted into a Biden campaign theme and ad. In mid-2007, Biden stressed his foreign policy expertise compared to Obama's, saying of the latter, "I think he can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." Biden also said that Obama was copying some of his foreign policy ideas. Biden was noted for his one-liners on the campaign trail, saying of Republican then-frontrunner Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

 at the October 30, 2007, debate in Philadelphia, "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11." Overall, Biden's debate performances were an effective mixture of humor and sharp and surprisingly disciplined comments.

Biden made remarks during the campaign that attracted controversy. On the day of his January 2007 announcement, he spoke of fellow Democratic candidate and Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man." This comment undermined his campaign as soon as it began and significantly damaged his fund-raising capabilities; it later took second place on Time magazine's list of Top 10 Campaign Gaffes for 2007. Biden had earlier been criticized in July 2006 for a remark he made about his support among Indian American
Indian American
Indian Americans are Americans whose ancestral roots lie in India. The U.S. Census Bureau popularized the term Asian Indian to avoid confusion with Indigenous peoples of the Americas who are commonly referred to as American Indians.-The term: Indian:...

s: "I've had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking." Biden later said the remark was not intended to be derogatory.

Overall, Biden had difficulty raising funds, struggled to draw people to his rallies, and failed to gain traction against the high-profile candidacies of Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

; he never rose above single digits in the national polls of the Democratic candidates
Nationwide opinion polling for the Democratic Party 2008 presidential candidates
For state-by state numbers see Statewide opinion polling for the Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2008This is a collection of scientific, public nationwide opinion polls that have been conducted relating to the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates.-Broad field: For state-by state numbers...

. In the initial contest on January 3, 2008, Biden placed fifth in the Iowa caucuses
Iowa Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus occurred on January 3, 2008, and was the state caucuses of the Iowa Democratic Party. It was the first election for the Democrats of the 2008 presidential election. Also referred to as "the First in the Nation Caucus," it was the first election of the primary...

, garnering slightly less than one percent of the state delegates. Biden withdrew from the race that evening, saying "There is nothing sad about tonight.... I feel no regret."

Despite the lack of success, Biden's stature in the political world rose as the result of his campaign. In particular, it changed the relationship between Biden and Obama. Although the two had served together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they had not been close, with Biden having resented Obama's quick rise to political stardom and Obama having viewed Biden as garrulous and patronizing. Now, having gotten to know each other during 2007, Obama appreciated Biden's campaigning style and appeal to working class voters, and Biden was convinced that Obama was "the real deal".

2008 vice-presidential candidacy



Since shortly following Biden's withdrawal from the presidential race, Obama had been privately telling Biden that he was interested in finding an important place for him in a possible Obama administration. Biden declined Obama's first request to vet him for the vice presidential slot, fearing the vice presidency would represent a loss in status and voice from his senate position, but subsequently changed his mind. In a June 22, 2008, interview on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

's Meet the Press
Meet the Press
Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program produced by NBC. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, despite bearing little resemblance to the original format of the program seen in its television debut on November 6, 1947. It has been...

, Biden confirmed that, although he was not actively seeking a spot on the ticket, he would accept the vice presidential nomination if offered. In early August, Obama and Biden met in secret to discuss a possible vice-presidential relationship, and the two hit it off well personally. On August 22, 2008, Barack Obama announced that Biden would be his running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

reported that the strategy behind the choice reflected a desire to fill out the ticket with someone who has foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 and national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 experience—and not to help the ticket win a swing state
Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes...

 or to emphasize Obama's "change" message. Other observers pointed out Biden's appeal to middle class and blue-collar voters, as well as his willingness to aggressively challenge Republican nominee John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 in a way that Obama seemed uncomfortable doing at times. In accepting Obama's offer, Biden ruled out to him the possibility of running for president again in 2016 (although comments by Biden in subsequent years seemed to back off that stance).


After his selection as a vice presidential candidate, Biden was criticized by his own Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
-External links:**...

 Bishop Michael Saltarelli over his stance on abortion, which goes against the church's pro-life beliefs and teachings. The diocese confirmed that even if elected vice president, Biden would not be allowed to speak at Catholic schools. Biden was soon barred from receiving Holy Communion by the bishop of his original hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

, because of his support for abortion rights; however, Biden did continue to receive Communion at his local Delaware parish. Scranton became a flash point in the competition for swing state Catholic voters between the Democratic campaign and liberal Catholic groups, who stressed that other social issues should be considered as much or more than abortion, and many bishops and conservative Catholics, who maintained abortion was paramount. Biden said he believed that life began at conception but that he would not impose his personal religious views on others. Bishop Saltarelli had previously stated regarding stances similar to Biden's: "No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’ Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.'"

Biden's vice presidential campaigning gained little media visibility, as far greater press attention was focused on the Republican running mate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

. During one week in September 2008, for instance, the Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

's Project for Excellence in Journalism
Project for Excellence in Journalism
The Project for Excellence in Journalism is a non-profit research organization in the US that uses empirical methods to evaluate and study the performance of the press. It asserts that it is "non partisan, non ideological and non political"...

 found that Biden was only included in five percent of the news coverage of the race, far less than for the other three candidates on the tickets. Biden nevertheless focused on campaigning in economically challenged areas of swing state
Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes...

s and trying to win over blue-collar Democrats, especially those who had supported Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

. Biden attacked McCain heavily, despite a long-standing personal friendship; he would say, "That guy I used to know, he’s gone. It literally saddens me." As the financial crisis of 2007–2010 reached a peak with the liquidity crisis of September 2008 and the proposed bailout of United States financial system
Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of , commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis...

 became a major factor in the campaign, Biden voted in favor of the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which passed the Senate 74–25.

On October 2, 2008, Biden participated in the campaign's one vice presidential debate
United States vice-presidential debate, 2008
The 2008 United States vice-presidential debate, took place on October 2, 2008, between U.S. vice-presidential candidates Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and Joe Biden, the senior Senator for Delaware, at Washington University in St. Louis, and was moderated by Public Broadcasting Service...

 with Palin. Polling from CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, Fox
Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel , often called Fox News, is a cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation...

 and CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 found that while Palin exceeded many voters' expectations, Biden had won the debate overall. On October 5, Biden suspended campaign events for a few days after the death of his mother-in-law. During the final days of the campaign, Biden focused on less-populated, older, less well-off areas of battleground states, especially in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, where polling indicated he was popular and where Obama had not campaigned or performed well in the Democratic primaries. He also campaigned in some normally Republican states, as well as in areas with large Catholic populations. Under instructions from the Obama campaign, Biden kept his speeches succinct and tried to avoid off-hand remarks, such as one about Obama being tested by a foreign power soon after taking office, which had attracted negative attention. Privately, Obama was frustrated by Biden's remarks, saying "How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?" Relations between the two campaigns became strained for a month, until Biden apologized on a call to Obama and the two built a stronger partnership. Publicly, Obama strategist David Axelrod
David Axelrod
David Axelrod may refer to:* David Axelrod * David Axelrod , Senior Advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama* David B. Axelrod , poet and educator...

 said that any unexpected comments had been outweighed by Biden's high popularity ratings. Nationally, Biden had a 60 percent favorability rating in a Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 poll, compared to Palin's 44 percent.

On November 4, 2008, Obama was elected President and Biden Vice President of the United States. The Obama-Biden ticket won 365 Electoral College votes to McCain-Palin's 173, and had a 53–46 percent edge in the nationwide popular vote.

Vice Presidency



Biden became the 47th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2009, when he was inaugurated alongside President Barack Obama. He succeeded Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

. Biden is the first United States Vice President from Delaware and the first Roman Catholic to attain that office. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from December 19, 1975 until his retirement on June 29, 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest member of the Court and the third-longest serving justice in the Court's history...

 administered the oath of office to Biden.

As Biden headed to Delaware's Return Day
Return day
Return Day is a biennial unique festival and ceremony held the Thursday after Election Day in Georgetown, Delaware, during which election results are announced.-History:...

 tradition following the November 2008 election, and the transition process to an Obama administration
Presidential transition of Barack Obama
The presidential transition of Barack Obama began when he won the United States presidential election on November 4, 2008, and became the President-Elect. He was formally elected by the Electoral College on December 15, 2008...

 began, Biden said he was in daily meetings with Obama and that McCain was still his friend. The U.S. Secret Service codename given to Biden is "Celtic", referencing his Irish roots.

Biden chose veteran Democratic lawyer and aide Ron Klain
Ron Klain
Ronald A. "Ron" Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents - Al Gore and Joseph Biden . He is an influential Democratic Party insider...

 to be his vice-presidential chief of staff, and Time Washington bureau chief Jay Carney
Jay Carney
James "Jay" Carney is an American journalist and President Barack Obama's second White House Press Secretary. Prior to his appointment as Press Secretary, replacing Robert Gibbs, he was director of communications to Vice President Joe Biden...

 to be his director of communications. Biden intended to eliminate some of the explicit roles assumed by the vice presidency of Cheney, who had established himself as an autonomous power center. Otherwise, Biden said he would not model his vice presidency on any of the ones before him, but instead would seek to provide advice and counsel on every critical decision Obama would make. Biden said he had been closely involved in all the cabinet appointments that were made during the transition. Biden was also named to head the new White House Task Force on Working Families, an initiative aimed at improving the economic well being of the middle class. As his last act as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Biden went on a trip to Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Afghanistan and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 during the second week of January 2009, meeting with the leadership of those countries.

In the early months of the Obama administration
Presidency of Barack Obama
The Presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January 20, 2009 when he became the 44th President of the United States. Obama was a United States Senator from Illinois at the time of his victory over Arizona Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election...

, Biden assumed the role of an important behind-the-scenes counselor. One role was to adjudicate disputes between Obama's "team of rivals". The president compared Biden's efforts to a basketball player "who does a bunch of things that don’t show up in the stat sheet." Biden played a key role in gaining Senate support for several major pieces of Obama legislation, and was a main factor in convincing Senator Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

 to switch from the Republican to Democratic party. Biden lost an internal debate to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 regarding his opposition to sending 21,000 new troops to the war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. His skeptical voice was still considered valuable within the administration, however, and later in 2009 Biden's views achieved more prominence within the White House as Obama reconsidered his Afghanistan strategy. Biden made visits to Iraq about once every two months, including trips to Baghdad in August and September 2009 to listen to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki , also known as Jawad al-Maliki or Abu Esraa, is the Prime Minister of Iraq and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party. Al-Maliki and his government succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government. He is currently in his second term as Prime Minister...

 and reiterate U.S. stances on Iraq's future; by this time he had become the administration's point man in delivering messages to Iraqi leadership about expected progress in the country. Biden's January 2010 visit to Iraq in the midst of turmoil over banned candidates from the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary election resulted in 59 of the several hundred candidates being reinstated by the Iraqi government two days later. Biden was in charge of the oversight role for infrastructure spending from the Obama stimulus package intended to help counteract the ongoing recession, and stressed that only worthy projects should get funding. During this period, Biden was satisfied that no major instances of waste or corruption had occurred (and when he gave up the role in February 2011, he said that the number of fraud incidents with stimulus monies had been less than one percent).
In late April 2009, Biden's off-message response to a question during the beginning of the swine flu outbreak
2009 flu pandemic
The 2009 flu pandemic was an influenza pandemic, and the second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus , albeit in a new version...

, that he would advise family members against travelling on airplanes or subways, led to a swift retraction from the White House. The remark revived Biden's reputation for gaffes, and led to a spate of late-night television jokes themed on him being a loose-talking buffoon. In the face of persistently rising unemployment through July 2009, Biden acknowledged that the administration had "misread how bad the economy was" but maintained confidence that the stimulus package would create many more jobs once the pace of expenditures picked up. The same month, Secretary of State Clinton quickly disavowed Biden's remarks disparaging Russia as a power, but despite any missteps, Biden still retained Obama's confidence and was increasingly influential within the administration. On March 23, 2010, a microphone picked up Biden telling the president that his signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

 was "a big fucking deal" during live national news telecasts. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs
Robert Gibbs
Robert Lane Gibbs was the 28th White House Press Secretary. Gibbs was the communications director for then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign...

 replied via Twitter "And yes Mr. Vice President, you're right..." Senior Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Bowman Jarrett is a senior advisor and assistant to the president for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama administration. She is a Chicago lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader...

 said that Biden's loose talk "[is] part of what makes the vice president so endearing ... We wouldn't change him one bit." Former Senate colleague Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Olin Graham is the senior U.S. Senator from South Carolina and a member of the Republican Party. Previously he served as the U.S. Representative for .-Early life, education and career:...

 said, "If there were no gaffes, there'd be no Joe. He's someone you can't help but like."
Biden's most important role within the administration has been to question assumptions and playing a contrarian role. Obama said that, "The best thing about Joe is that when we get everybody together, he really forces people to think and defend their positions, to look at things from every angle, and that is very valuable for me." Another senior Obama advisor said Biden "is always prepared to be the skunk at the family picnic to make sure we are as intellectually honest as possible." On June 11, 2010, Biden represented the United States at the opening ceremony of the World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

, attended the England v. U.S. game which was tied 1–1, and visited Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa.
Throughout, Joe and Jill Biden maintained a relaxed atmosphere at their official residence in Washington, often entertaining some of their grandchildren, and regularly returned to their home in Delaware.

Biden campaigned heavily for Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections
United States elections, 2010
The 2010 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 37 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate were contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial...

, maintaining an attitude of optimism in the face of general predictions of large-scale losses for the party. In October 2010, Biden stated that Obama had asked him to remain as his running mate for the 2012 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2012
The United States presidential election of 2012 is the next United States presidential election, to be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It will be the 57th quadrennial presidential election in which presidential electors, who will actually elect the President and the Vice President of the United...

. Following large-scale Republican gains in the elections and the departure of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Israel Emanuel is an American politician and the 55th and current Mayor of Chicago. He was formerly White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama...

, Biden's past relationships with Republicans in Congress became more important. He led the successful administration effort to gain Senate approval for the New START treaty. In December 2010, Biden's advocacy within the White House for a middle ground, followed by his direct negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader.- Early life, education, and military service :...

, were instrumental in producing the administration's compromise tax package that revolved around a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. Biden then took the lead in trying to sell the agreement to a reluctant Democratic caucus in Congress, which was passed as the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 , was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 17, 2010....

.
In March 2011, Obama detailed Biden to lead negotiations between both houses of Congress and the White House in resolving federal spending levels for the rest of the year and avoid a government shutdown. By May 2011, a "Biden panel" with six congressional members was trying to reach a bipartisan deal on raising the U.S. debt ceiling
United States public debt
The United States public debt is the money borrowed by the federal government of the United States at any one time through the issue of securities by the Treasury and other federal government agencies...

 as part of an overall deficit reduction plan. The U.S. debt ceiling crisis developed over the next couple of months, but it was again Biden's relationship with McConnell that proved to be a key factor in breaking a deadlock and finally bringing about a bipartisan deal to resolve it, in the form of the Budget Control Act of 2011
Budget Control Act of 2011
The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed by the 112th United States Congress signed into law by President Barack Obama. It brought conclusion to the 2011 United States debt ceiling crisis, which had threatened to lead the United States into sovereign default on or about August 3, 2011.The law...

, signed on August 2, 2011, the same day that an unprecedented U.S. default
Sovereign default
A sovereign default is the failure or refusal of the government of a sovereign state to pay back its debt in full. It may be accompanied by a formal declaration of a government not to pay or only partially pay its debts , or the de facto cessation of due payments...

 had loomed. Biden had spent the most time bargaining with Congress on the debt question of anyone in the administration, and one Republican staffer said, "Biden’s the only guy with real negotiating authority, and [McConnell] knows that his word is good. He was a key to the deal."

Awards and honors



Biden has received honorary degrees from
the University of Scranton
University of Scranton
The University of Scranton is a private, co-educational Catholic and Jesuit university, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the northeast region of the state. The school was founded in 1888 by Most Rev. William O'Hara, the first Bishop of Scranton, as St. Thomas College. It was elevated to a...

 (1976),
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Joseph's University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic Jesuit university located partially in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and partially in Lower Merion Township and located in the Pennsylvania Main Line, Pennsylvania, United States.The school was founded in 1851 as Saint...

 (1981),
Widener University School of Law
Widener University School of Law
Widener University School of Law is the ABA accredited law school of Widener University. The school, founded in 1971 as the Delaware Law School, operates on two of Widener's campuses, one in Wilmington, Delaware, and the other in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania....

 (2000),
Emerson College
Emerson College
Emerson College is a private coeducational university located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1880 by Charles Wesley Emerson as a "school of oratory," Emerson is "the only comprehensive college or university in America dedicated exclusively to communication and the arts in a liberal arts...

 (2003),
his alma mater the University of Delaware
University of Delaware
The university is organized into seven colleges:* College of Agriculture and Natural Resources* College of Arts and Sciences* Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics* College of Earth, Ocean and Environment* College of Education and Human Development...

 (2004),
Suffolk University Law School
Suffolk University Law School
Suffolk University Law School, also known as Suffolk Law School or SULS, is one of the professional graduate schools of Suffolk University. Suffolk University Law School is a private, non-sectarian, law school located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Suffolk University Law School was founded in...

 (2005), and his other alma mater Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

 (2009).

Biden received the Chancellor Medal from his alma mater, Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

, in 1980. In 2005, he received the George Arents Pioneer Medal—Syracuse's highest alumni award—"for excellence in public affairs."

In 2008, Biden received the Best of Congress Award, for "improving the American quality of life through family-friendly work policies," from Working Mother
Working Mother
Working Mother Media is a subsidiary of Bonnier Corporation It is the largest multimedia company in US which focused on diversity and the advancement of women...

magazine.
Also in 2008, Biden shared with fellow Senator Richard Lugar the Hilal-i-Pakistan
Civil decorations of Pakistan
The Pakistan Civil Awards were established on March 19, 1957, following the proclamation of Pakistan as an independent Republic on March 23, 1956. The announcement of civil awards is generally made once a year on Independence Day, August 14, and their investiture takes place on the following...

 award from the Government of Pakistan
Government of Pakistan
The Government of Pakistan is a federal parliamentary system, with an indirectly-elected President as the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Armed Forces, and an indirectly-elected Prime Minister as the Head of Government. The President’s appointment and term are...

, "in recognition of their consistent support for Pakistan." In 2009, Biden received The Golden Medal of Freedom award from Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, that region's highest award, for his vocal support for their independence in the late 1990s.

Biden is an inductee of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association
Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association
The Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association is an organization established to assist the volunteer fire companies of the state of Delaware.- History :...

 Hall of Fame. He was named to the Little League Hall of Excellence in 2009.

Almanac


U.S. Senators are popularly elected and take office January 3 for a six year term (except when appointed to fill existing vacancies).
Public offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
County Council Legislature Wilmington
Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington is the largest city in the state of Delaware, United States, and is located at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River. It is the county seat of New Castle County and one of the major cities in the Delaware Valley...

January 4, 1971 January 3, 1973 New Castle County
New Castle County, Delaware
New Castle County is the northernmost of the three counties of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of 2010 its population was 538,479, an increase of 7.6% over the previous decade. The county seat is Wilmington. The center of population of Delaware is located in New Castle County, in the town of...

U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 3, 1979 January 3, 1985
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 3, 1985 January 3, 1991
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 3, 1991 January 3, 1997
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 3, 1997 January 3, 2003
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 3, 2003 January 3, 2009
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington, D.C. January 6, 2009 January 15, 2009 resigned to be sworn in as Vice President
Vice President Executive Washington, D.C. January 20, 2009

United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Majority President Committees Class/District
1973–1975 93rd
93rd United States Congress
The Ninety-third United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1973 to January 3, 1975, during the end of Richard...

Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford
Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
Classes of United States Senators
The three classes of United States Senators are currently made up of 33 or 34 Senate seats. The purpose of the classes is to determine which Senate seats will be up for election in a given year. The three groups are staggered so that one of them is up for election every two years.A senator's...

1975–1977 94th
94th United States Congress
The Ninety-fourth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1975 to January 3, 1977, during the administration...

Democratic Gerald R. Ford Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1977–1979 95th
95th United States Congress
The Ninety-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1977 to January 3, 1979, during the first two years...

Democratic Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1979–1981 96th
96th United States Congress
The Ninety-sixth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1979 to January 3, 1981, during the last two years...

Democratic Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1981–1983 97th
97th United States Congress
The Ninety-seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1981 to January 3, 1983, during the final weeks of...

Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1983–1985 98th
98th United States Congress
The Ninety-eighth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1983 to January 3, 1985, during the third and...

Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1985–1987 99th
99th United States Congress
The Ninety-ninth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1985 to January 3, 1987, during the fifth and sixth...

Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1987–1989 100th
100th United States Congress
-House of Representatives:- Senate :* President: George H.W. Bush * President pro tempore: John Stennis - Majority leadership :* Majority Leader, Democratic Conference Chairman, and Democratic Policy Committee Chairman: Robert Byrd...

Democratic Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1989–1991 101st
101st United States Congress
The One Hundred First United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1989 to January 3, 1991, during the first two...

Democratic George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1991–1993 102nd
102nd United States Congress
-House of Representatives:- Senate :* President:Dan Quayle * President pro tempore: Robert Byrd - Majority leadership :* Majority Leader: George Mitchell* Majority Whip: Wendell Ford- Minority leadership :...

Democratic George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1993–1995 103rd
103rd United States Congress
- House of Representatives :- Leadership :- Senate :* President: Dan Quayle , until January 20, 1993** Al Gore , from January 20, 1993* President pro tempore: Robert Byrd - Majority leadership :* Majority Leader: George Mitchell...

Democratic William J. Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1995–1997 104th
104th United States Congress
The One Hundred Fourth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1995 to January 3, 1997, during the third and...

Republican William J. Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1997–1999 105th
105th United States Congress
The One Hundred Fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1997 to January 3, 1999, during the fifth and...

Republican William J. Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1999–2001 106th
106th United States Congress
The One Hundred Sixth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1999 to January 3, 2001, during the last two...

Republican William J. Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2001–2003 107th
107th United States Congress
The One Hundred Seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 2001 to January 3, 2003, during the final...

Republican
Democratic
George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2003–2005 108th
108th United States Congress
The One Hundred Eighth United States Congress was the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives from January 3, 2003 to January 3, 2005, during the third and fourth years of George W. Bush's...

Republican George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2005–2007 109th
109th United States Congress
The One Hundred Ninth United States Congress was the legislative branch of the United States, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, from January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007, during the fifth and sixth years of George W. Bush's presidency. House members...

Republican George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2007–2009 110th
110th United States Congress
The One Hundred Tenth United States Congress was the meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, between January 3, 2007, and January 3, 2009, during the last two years of the second term of President George W. Bush. It was composed of the Senate and the House of...

Democratic George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2009 111th
111th United States Congress
The One Hundred Eleventh United States Congress was the meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government from January 3, 2009 until January 3, 2011. It began during the last two weeks of the George W. Bush administration, with the remainder spanning the first two years of...

Democratic George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

class 2
Even though at the time he was the Vice President-elect, Biden was sworn in for his seventh term in office as the senior senator from Delaware on January 6, 2009. Fourteen days later he was sworn in as Vice President of the United States.Although the 111th Congress' President is Barack Obama, Biden did not serve as a Senator under Obama due to him serving as Vice President instead.

Election results
Year Office Election Votes for Biden % Opponent Party Votes %
1970 County Councilman General 10,573 55% Lawrence T. Messick Republican 8,192 43%
1972 U.S. Senator General 116,006 50% J. Caleb Boggs
J. Caleb Boggs
James Caleb "Cale" Boggs was an American lawyer and politician from Claymont, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a veteran of World War II, and a member of the Republican Party, who served three terms as U.S. Representative from Delaware, two terms as Governor of Delaware, and two terms as...

Republican 112,844 49%
1978
United States Senate elections, 1978
The United States Senate election of 1978 in the middle of Democratic President Jimmy Carter's term. The Democrats lost a net of three seats to the Republicans, leaving the balance of the chamber 58-41 in favor of the Democrats....

U.S. Senator General 93,930 58% James H. Baxter, Jr. Republican 66,479 41%
1984
United States Senate elections, 1984
The 1984 elections to the United States Senate coincided with the landslide re-election of President Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election...

U.S. Senator General 147,831 60% John M. Burris Republican 98,101 40%
1990
United States Senate elections, 1990
Elections to one-third of the seats in the United States Senate were held on Tuesday, November 6, 1990. The Democratic Party increased its majority with a net gain of one seat from the Republicans. This was in keeping with the trend that the party of the President often loses seats in a midterm...

U.S. Senator General 112,918 63% M. Jane Brady Republican 64,554 36%
1996
United States Senate elections, 1996
The 1996 elections to the United States Senate coincided with the 1996 presidential election, in which Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore were reelected President and Vice President of the United States, respectively....

U.S. Senator General 165,465 60% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 105,088 38%
2002
United States Senate elections, 2002
The 2002 United States Senate election featured a series of fiercely contested elections that resulted in a victory for the Republican Party, which gained two seats and thus a narrow majority from the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. Senators who were elected in 1996, known as Senate...

U.S. Senator General 135,253 58% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 94,793 41%
2008
United States Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the United States Senate were held on November 4, 2008, with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Thirty-three seats were regular elections; the winners were eligible to serve six-year terms from January 3, 2009, to January 3, 2015, as members of Senate Class II...

U.S. Senator General 257,484 65% Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
Christine Therese O'Donnell is an American Republican Party politician who founded two advocacy organizations. She has been an advocate for nonprofit clients and nonprofit causes for nearly 20 years. A Tea Party favorite, and with strong financial support from the Tea Party movement, she defeated...

Republican 140,584 35%
2008
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

Vice President General 69,456,897 53% Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

Republican 59,934,786 46%

Writings by Biden


Also paperback edition, Random House 2008, ISBN 978-0-8129-7621-2.

External links