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"Biden" redirects here. For other uses, see .

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who served as the from 2009 to 2017. A member of the , he represented as a from 1973 to 2009.

Joe Biden was born in , in 1942, and lived there for ten years before moving with his family to . He became an attorney in 1969, and was elected to the in 1970. He was first to the Senate in 1972, and became the sixth-youngest senator in American history. Biden was reelected to the upper house of Congress six times, and was the at the time of his resignation to assume the Vice Presidency in 2009. He was a long-time member and former chairman of the . He opposed the in 1991, but advocated U.S. and intervention in the in 1994 and 1995. He voted in favor of the in 2002, but opposed the in 2007. He has also served as chairman of the , dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties, and led the legislative efforts for creation of the , and the . He chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious nominations of and .

Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in and in , both times dropping out after lackluster showings. In the , chose Biden to be his running mate in the race, which they won.

As Vice President in the , Biden oversaw the aimed at counteracting the , and U.S. policy toward up until the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. His ability to negotiate with congressional helped bring about legislation such as the that resolved a taxation deadlock, the that resolved that year's , and the that addressed the impending "". In 2011, he opposed going ahead with the military mission that resulted in the . Obama and Biden were . In October 2015, after months of speculation, Biden chose not to run for in . In December 2016, he refused to rule out a potential bid for President in , but announced on January 13, 2017, that he would not run, only to seemingly backtrack just four days later, again refusing to rule out a potential bid. On January 12, 2017, Obama awarded him the with distinction—the only time Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom with the additional honor of distinction. After leaving office, Biden was named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice professor at the .


Early life

Biden was born on November 20, 1942, at St. Mary's Hospital in , to Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Biden (née Finnegan) and Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Sr. He was the first of four siblings in a family, with a sister, Valerie, and two brothers, James and Frank, following. His mother was of descent, with roots variously attributed to or . His paternal grandparents, Mary Elizabeth (Robinette) and Joseph H. Biden, an oil businessman from , were of , , and Irish ancestry. His paternal great-great-great grandfather, William Biden, was born in , England, and immigrated to the United States. His maternal great-grandfather, Edward Francis Blewitt, was a member of the .

Biden's father had been very well-off earlier in his life, but suffered several business reversals by the time his son was born. 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 , where they lived for a few years before moving to a house in .Joe Biden Sr. was then more successful as a , and the family's circumstances were middle class.

Biden attended the in , where he was a standout / on the 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 at a Wilmington theatre. Academically, he was an , was considered a natural leader among the students, and was elected class president during his junior and senior years. He graduated in 1961.

He earned his in 1965 from the , with a in history and , graduating with a of 506 out of 688. His classmates were impressed by his abilities, and he played halfback with the . In 1964, while on in , he met and began dating Neilia Hunter, who was from an affluent background in and attended . He told her that he aimed to become a Senator by the age of 30 and then President. He dropped a junior year plan to play for the varsity football team as a , enabling him to spend more time visiting out of state with her.

He then entered , receiving a half scholarship based on financial need with some additional assistance based on academics. By his own description, he found law school to be "the biggest bore in the world" and pulled many to get by. During his first year there, he was accused of having 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 an "F" grade, which was subsequently dropped from his record (this incident would later attract attention when further plagiarism accusations emerged in 1987). He received his in 1968, graduating 76th of 85 in his class. Biden was admitted to the Delaware in 1969.

Biden received during this period, at the peak of the , and in 1968, he was reclassified by the as not available for service due to having had asthma as a teenager. He never took part in , later saying that at the time he was preoccupied with marriage and law school, and "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 . Biden suffered from through much of his childhood and into his twenties, and overcame it by spending many hours reciting poetry in front of a mirror.

Early political career and family life

On August 27, 1966, while Biden was still a law student, he married Neilia Hunter. They overcame her parents' initial reluctance for her to wed a Roman Catholic, and the ceremony was held in a Catholic church in . They had three children, in 1969, in 1970, and Naomi Christina in 1971.

During 1968, Biden clerked for six months at a law firm headed by prominent local William Prickett and, as he later said, "thought of myself as a Republican". He disliked the conservative racial politics of incumbent Democratic Governor of Delaware and supported a more liberal Republican, , who defeated Terry in 1968. The local Republicans tried to recruit him, but he resisted due to his distaste for Republican presidential candidate , and registered as an instead.

In 1969, Biden resumed practicing law in Wilmington, first as a and then at a firm headed by Sid Balick, a locally active Democrat. Balick named him to the Democratic Forum, a group trying to reform and revitalize the state party, and Biden switched his registration to Democrat. He also started his own firm, Biden and Walsh., however, did not appeal to him and did not pay well. He supplemented his income by managing properties.

Later in 1969, Biden ran as a Democrat for the on a liberal platform that included support for public housing in the suburban area. He won by a solid, two-thousand vote margin in the usually Republican district and in a bad year for Democrats in the state. Even before taking his seat, he was already talking about running for the U.S. Senate in a couple of years. He served on the County Council from 1970 to 1972 while continuing his private law practice. Among issues he addressed on the council was his opposition to large highway projects that might disrupt Wilmington neighborhoods, including those related to .

United States Senator

Election and tragedy; recovery and new family

Biden's entry into the presented a unique circumstance. Longtime Delaware political figure and Republican incumbent Senator was considering retirement, which would likely have left and Wilmington Mayor in a divisive fight. To avoid that, U.S. President 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) and staffed by other family members, 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. He did receive some assistance from the and Democratic pollster . His 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, he 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. He 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 Naomi were killed in an automobile accident while Christmas shopping in . 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 sons Beau and Hunter survived the accident and were taken to the hospital in fair condition, Beau with a broken leg and other wounds, and Hunter with a minor skull fracture and other head injuries. Doctors soon said both would make full recoveries. Biden considered resigning to care for them, but was persuaded not to by . Subsequent to the accident, Biden commented that the truck driver had been drinking alcohol before the collision, but these allegations were denied by the driver's family and were never substantiated by the police.

Drawer of chamber desk XCI occupied by Biden in the U.S. Senate. Note signature at upper center inside of drawer. President once occupied the desk in the U.S. Senate. Joe Biden met his second wife, (here seen dancing together in 2009), in 1975 and they married in 1977.

Biden was sworn into office on January 5, 1973 by , the in a small chapel at the . Beau was wheeled in with his leg still in traction; Hunter, who had already been released, was also there, as were other members of the extended family. Witnesses and television cameras were also present and the event received national attention.

At age 30 (the minimum age required to hold the office), Biden became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history, and one of only 18 senators who took office before reaching the age of 31. But the accident left him 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 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, he 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, , became and an Army who served in Iraq; his younger son, , became a Washington attorney and lobbyist. On May 30, 2015, Beau died at the age of 46 after a two-year battle with brain cancer. At the time of his death, Beau had been widely seen as the frontrunner to be the Democratic nominee for in .

In 1975, Biden met , who grew up in , and would become a teacher in Delaware. They had met on a blind date arranged by Biden's brother, although it turned out that Biden had already noticed a photograph of her in an advertisement for a local park in . Biden would credit her with renewing his interest in both politics and life. On June 17, 1977, Biden and Jacobs were married by a Catholic priest at the Chapel at the United Nations in New York. has a bachelor's degree from the ; two master's degrees, one from , and one ; and a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware. They have one daughter together, Ashley Blazer (born 1981), who became a social worker and staffer at the . Biden and his wife are Roman Catholics and regularly attend Mass at in .

Early Senate activities

During his first years in the Senate, Biden focused on legislation regarding consumer-protection and environmental issues and called for greater accountability on the part of government. In mid-1974, freshman Senator Biden was named one of the 200 Faces for the Future by magazine, in a profile that mentioned what had happened to his family and characterized Biden as "self-confident" and "compulsively ambitious".

Biden became of the in 1981. In 1984, he was Democratic floor manager for the successful passage of the ; 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 first considered running for president in that year, after he gained notice for giving speeches to party audiences that simultaneously scolded and encouraged Democrats.

Regarding foreign policy, during his first decade in the Senate, Biden focused on issues. In response to the refusal of the to ratify the Treaty signed in 1979 by Soviet leader and President , he took the initiative to meet the Soviet Foreign Minister , educated him about American concerns and interests, and secured several changes to address objections of the Foreign Relations Committee. When the wanted to interpret the 1972 Treaty loosely in order to allow the to proceed, Biden argued for strict adherence to the treaty's terms. He clashed again with the Reagan administration in 1986 over ; he received considerable attention when he excoriated Secretary of State at a Senate hearing because of the administration's support of that country, which continued to practice the system.

1988 presidential campaign

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Biden ran for the , formally declaring his candidacy at the on June 9, 1987. He was attempting to become the youngest president since . When the campaign began, he was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his speaking ability on the stump, his appeal to , his high-profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the upcoming hearings, and his fundraising appeal. He raised .7 million in the first quarter of 1987, more than any other candidate.

By August 1987, Biden's campaign, whose messaging was confused due to staff rivalries, had begun to lag behind those of and , 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 a speech that had been made earlier that year by , leader of the British . 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?"

Biden had in fact cited Kinnock as the source for the formulation on previous occasions. But he made no reference to the original source at the August 23 Democratic debate at the being reported on, nor in an August 26 interview for the . Moreover, while political speeches often appropriate ideas and language from each other, Biden's use came under more scrutiny because he fabricated aspects of his own family's background in order to match Kinnock's. Biden was soon found to have earlier that year lifted passages from a 1967 speech by (for which his aides took the blame), and a short phrase from the 1961 ; and in two prior years to have done the same with a 1976 passage from .

A few days later, Biden's plagiarism incident in law school came to public light. Video was also released showing that when earlier questioned by a resident about his grades in law school, he had 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, each of which was untrue or exaggerations of his actual record.

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 writer Paul Taylor described as that year's trend, a "trial by media ordeal". He 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. Later in 1987, the '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".

In February 1988, after suffering from several episodes of increasingly severe neck pain, Biden was taken by long-distance ambulance to and given lifesaving surgery to correct an that had begun leaking; the situation was serious enough that a priest had administered at the hospital. While recuperating, he suffered a , 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. In retrospect, Biden's family came to believe that the early end to his presidential campaign had been a blessing in disguise, for had he still been campaigning in the midst of the primaries in early 1988, he might well have not have stopped to seek medical attention and the condition might have become unsurvivable.

Judiciary Committee

Joe Biden, U.S. Senate photo

Biden was a long-time member of the . He chaired it from 1987 until 1995 and he served as on it from 1981 until 1987 and again from 1995 until 1997.

While chairman, Biden presided over the two most contentious confirmation hearings in history, those for in 1987 and in 1991. In the , he 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, he 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 provides rights to liberty and privacy that extend beyond those explicitly enumerated in the text, and that Bork's strong 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 , Biden's questions on constitutional issues were often long and convoluted, sometimes such that Thomas forgot the question being asked. Viewers of the high-profile hearings were often annoyed by Biden's style. Thomas later wrote that despite earlier private assurances from the senator, Biden's questions had been akin to a . 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, '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 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. He spearheaded the of 1994, also known as the Biden Crime Law, which included the , which expired in 2004 after its ten-year sunset period and was not renewed. It also included the landmark (VAWA), which contains a broad array of measures to combat . In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in that the section of VAWA allowing a federal civil remedy for victims of -motivated violence exceeded Congress's authority and therefore was unconstitutional. 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 -based , and to donate equipment and expertise to it in a successful effort to improve its services.

Biden was critical of the actions of during the 1990s and 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 .

As chairman of the , Biden wrote the laws that created the U.S. "", 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 . He continued to work to stop the spread of " drugs" such as , and drugs such as and . In 2004, he worked to pass a bill outlawing like , the drug used by many baseball players.

Biden's "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 . In 1997, he became the and chaired the committee in January 2001 and from June 2001 through 2003. When Democrats re-took control of the Senate following the , Biden again assumed the top spot on the committee in 2007. Biden was generally a in foreign policy. He collaborated effectively with important Republican Senate figures such as and and sometimes went against elements of his own party. Biden was also co-chairman of the 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 chairman of the committee, as well as holding many subcommittee hearings during the three times he chaired the .

Senator Biden travels with President Clinton and other officials to Bosnia in 1997

Biden became interested in the after hearing about abuses during the in 1991. Once the broke out, Biden was among the first to call for the "" policy of lifting the arms embargo, training and supporting them with air strikes, and investigating . Both the and were reluctant to implement the policy, fearing Balkan entanglement. In April 1993, Biden spent a week in the Balkans and held a tense three-hour meeting with Serbian leader . 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 and . The engagement led to 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 , Biden supported the , and co-sponsored with his friend 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 . In 1998, named Biden one of "Twelve Who Made a Difference" for playing a lead role in several foreign policy matters, including and the successful passage of bills to streamline foreign affairs agencies and punish religious persecution overseas.

Biden had voted against authorization for the in 1991, siding with 45 of the 55 Democratic senators; he said the U.S. was bearing almost all the burden in the . Biden was a strong supporter of the 2001 , saying "Whatever it takes, we should do it." Regarding Iraq, Biden stated in 2002 that was a threat to national security, and that there was no option but to eliminate that threat. In October 2002, Biden voted in favor of the , justifying the . 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 , saying General was "dead, flat wrong" in believing the surge could work. Biden was instead a leading advocate for dividing Iraq into a loose of three states. In November 2006, Biden and , President Emeritus of the , released a comprehensive strategy to end . Rather than continuing the present approach or withdrawing, the plan called for "a third way": federalizing Iraq and giving , , and "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 issued a statement distancing itself.

In March 2004, Biden secured the brief release of Libyan democracy activist and , after meeting with leader in . In May 2008, Biden sharply criticized President for his speech to 's 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 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 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 and .

Biden receiving a 1997 tour of a new facility at Delaware's

In 1975, Biden broke from when he took legislative action to limit . 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, generated much turmoil, and in trying to legislate a compromise solution, Biden found himself alienating both black and white voters for a while.

Beginning in 1991, Biden served as an at the , Delaware's only law school, teaching a seminar on . The seminar was one of Widener's most popular, often with a waiting list for enrollment. Biden 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 , one of Delaware's largest companies, and other credit card issuers. Biden allowed an amendment to the bill to increase the homestead exemption for homeowners declaring bankruptcy and fought for an amendment to 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 in 2005, with Biden supporting it.

The downstate 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  million worth of projects for his constituents through .

Characteristics as senator

Following his initial election in 1972, Biden was re-elected to six additional terms, in the , , , , , and , usually getting about 60 percent of the vote. He did not face strong opposition; Pete du Pont, then governor, 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 After Roth was defeated for re-election by in 2000, Biden became Delaware's senior senator. He then became the longest-serving senator in Delaware history and, in 2018, was the 18th longest serving senator in the US. In May 1999, Biden became the youngest senator to cast 10,000 votes.

Biden's official Senate photo (2005)

With a between ,000 and 6,000, and almost no outside income or investment income, Biden 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 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 . In public appearances, he is known to deviate from prepared remarks at will. According to political analyst , he has shown "a persistent tendency to say silly, offensive, and off-putting things"; writes that Biden's "weak filters make him capable of blurting out pretty much anything". Nor is Biden known for modesty; journalist 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 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 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."

2008 presidential election

Biden ran for the for president in 2008, and on the as eventual nominee Barack Obama's running-mate.

Biden presidential campaign

Main article:

Biden's 2008 campaign logo

Biden had thought about running for president again ever since his failed 1988 bid.

Biden declared his candidacy for president on January 31, 2007, after having discussed running for months prior, and first made a formal announcement to on 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 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 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 at the debate on October 30, 2007, in , "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 : "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 : "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 ; he never rose above single digits in . In the initial contest on January 3, 2008, Biden placed fifth in the , 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".

Democratic nominee for vice president

Main articles: and

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 's , 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 . reported that the strategy behind the choice reflected a desire to fill out the ticket with someone who has and experience—and not to help the ticket win a or to emphasize Obama's "change" message. Other observers pointed out Biden's appeal to middle class and voters, as well as his willingness to aggressively challenge Republican nominee 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, with Biden not wanting to diminish his political power by appearing uninterested in advancement). Biden was officially nominated for vice president on August 27 by voice vote at the in .

Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in , while presidential nominee listens

After his selection as a vice presidential candidate, Biden was criticized by his own Bishop for not opposing abortion. 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 by the bishop of his original hometown of , 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, . During one week in September 2008, for instance, the 's found that Biden was included in only 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 and trying to win over blue-collar Democrats, especially those who had supported . 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 reached a peak with the and the became a major factor in the campaign, Biden voted in favor of the 0 billion , which passed the Senate 74–25.

On October 2, 2008, Biden participated in the with Palin. Post-debate polls 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's 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?" Obama campaign staffers referred to Biden blunders as "Joe bombs" and kept Biden uninformed about strategy discussions, which in turn irked Biden. 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 said that any unexpected comments had been outweighed by Biden's high popularity ratings. Nationally, Biden had a 60 percent favorability rating in a 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 to McCain-Palin's 173, and had a 53–46 percent edge in the nationwide popular vote.

Biden had continued to run for his Senate seat as well as for Vice President, as permitted by Delaware law. On November 4, Biden was also , defeating Republican . 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 start 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 0 billion for the . Biden 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."

Vice Presidency (2009–2017)

Post-election transition

Biden is sworn into office by Associate Justice , January 20, 2009

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

Biden chose veteran Democratic lawyer and aide to be his chief of staff, and Time Washington bureau chief to be his director of communications. Biden intended to eliminate some of the explicit roles assumed by the vice presidency of his predecessor, , 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 , Afghanistan and during the second week of January 2009, meeting with the leadership of those countries.

First term (2009–2013)

Biden became the 47th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2009, when he was inaugurated alongside President Barack Obama. Biden is the first United States Vice President from Delaware and the first Roman Catholic to attain that office. Supreme Court Justice administered the to Biden.

President Obama walking with Vice President Biden at the , February 2009

In the early months of the , 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 to switch from the Republican to the Democratic party. Biden lost an internal debate to Secretary of State regarding his opposition to sending 21,000 new troops to the . 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 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. More generally, overseeing Iraq policy became Biden's responsibility: the president is said to have put it as "Joe, you do Iraq". Biden said Iraq "could be one of the great achievements of this administration." Biden's January 2010 visit to Iraq in the midst of turmoil over banned candidates from the resulted in 59 of the several hundred candidates being reinstated by the Iraqi government two days later. By 2012, Biden had made eight trips there, but his oversight of U.S. policy in Iraq receded with the exit in 2011 of U.S. troops.

Biden was also in charge of the oversight role for intended to help counteract the , and stressed that only worthy projects should get funding. He talked with hundreds of governors, mayors, and other local officials in this role. During this period, Biden was satisfied that no major instances of waste or corruption had occurred, and when he completed that role in February 2011, he said that the number of fraud incidents with stimulus monies had been less than one percent.

It took some time for the cautious Obama and the blunt, rambling Biden to work out ways of dealing with each other. In late April 2009, Biden's off-message response to a question during the beginning of the , 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 , 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 was "a big fucking deal" during live national news telecasts. White House press secretary replied via Twitter "And yes Mr. Vice President, you're right..." Senior Obama advisor 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 said, "If there were no gaffes, there'd be no Joe. He's someone you can't help but like." Biden gained a long-running alter ego persona, "The President of Vice", on the satirical news site , which parodied his job title. Despite their different personalities, Obama and Biden formed a friendship, partly based around Obama's daughter Sasha and Biden's granddaughter Maisy, who attended together.

Biden's most important role within the administration was to question assumptions, 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 , attended the 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 , maintaining an attitude of optimism in the face of general predictions of large-scale losses for the party. Following large-scale Republican gains in the elections and the departure of White House Chief of Staff , Biden's past relationships with Republicans in Congress became more important. He led the successful administration effort to gain Senate approval for the . In December 2010, Biden's advocacy within the White House for a middle ground, followed by his direct negotiations with Senate Minority Leader , were instrumental in producing the administration's compromise tax package that revolved around a temporary . Biden then took the lead in trying to sell the agreement to a reluctant Democratic caucus in Congress, which was passed as the .

Biden shook hands with President Obama immediately after a call to House Speaker concluded the debt ceiling deal that led to the . Biden played a key role in forging the deal.

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 as part of an overall plan. The 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 , signed on August 2, 2011, the same day that an unprecedented 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."

2012 re-election campaign

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In October 2010, Biden stated that Obama had asked him to remain as his running mate for the . With Obama's popularity on the decline, however, in late 2011 White House Chief of Staff conducted some secret polling and focus group research into the idea of Secretary of State Clinton replacing Biden on the ticket. The notion was dropped when the results showed no appreciable improvement for Obama, and White House officials later said that Obama had never entertained the idea.

Biden's May 2012 statement that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gained considerable public attention in comparison to President Obama's position, which had been described as "evolving". Biden made his statement without administration consent, and Obama and his aides were quite irked, since Obama had planned to shift position several months later, in the build-up to the party convention, and since Biden had previously counseled the president to avoid the issue lest key Catholic voters be offended. Gay rights advocates seized upon the Biden stance, and within days, Obama announced that he too supported same-sex marriage, an action in part forced by Biden's unexpected remarks. Biden apologized to Obama in private for having spoken out, while Obama acknowledged publicly it had been done from the heart. The incident showed that Biden still struggled at times with ; as Time wrote, "everyone knows [that] Biden's greatest strength is also his greatest weakness." Relations were also strained between the campaigns when Biden appeared to use his to bolster fundraising contacts for a possible run on his own in the , and the vice president ended up being excluded from Obama campaign strategy meetings.

Biden with President Barack Obama, July 2012

The Obama campaign nevertheless still valued Biden as a retail-level politician who could connect with disaffected, blue collar workers and rural residents, and he had a heavy schedule of appearances in swing states as the began in earnest in spring 2012. An August 2012 remark before a mixed-race audience that proposed Republican relaxation of Wall Street regulations would "put y'all back in chains" led to a similar analysis of Biden's face-to-face campaigning abilities versus tendency to go off track. The wrote, "Most candidates give the same stump speech over and over, putting reporters if not the audience to sleep. But during any Biden speech, there might be a dozen moments to make press handlers cringe, and prompt reporters to turn to each other with amusement and confusion." wrote that Biden often goes too far and that "Along with the familiar Washington mix of neediness and overconfidence, Biden's brain is wired for more than the usual amount of goofiness."

Biden was officially nominated for a second term as vice president on September 6 by voice vote at the in . He faced his Republican counterpart, Representative , in the lone on October 11 in . There he made a feisty, emotional defense of the Obama administration's record and energetically attacked the Republican ticket, in an effort to regain campaign momentum lost by Obama's unfocused debate performance against Republican nominee the week before.

On November 6, 2012, the president and vice president were elected to second terms. The Obama-Biden ticket won 332 to Romney-Ryan's 206 and had a 51–47 percent edge in the nationwide popular vote.


In December 2012, Biden was named by Obama to head the , created to address the causes of in the aftermath of the . Later that month, during the final days before the country fell off the "", Biden's relationship with McConnell once more proved important as the two negotiated a deal that led to the being passed at the start of 2013. It made permanent much of the Bush tax cuts but raised rates on upper income levels.

Second term (2013–2017)

Biden was in the early morning of January 20, 2013, at a small ceremony in his official residence with Justice presiding (a public ceremony took place on January 21). He continued to be in the forefront as, in the wake of the , the Obama administration put forth executive orders and proposed legislation towards new gun control measures (the legislation failed to pass).

During the discussions that led to the October 2013 passage of the , which resolved the and the , Biden played little role. This was due to Senate Majority Leader and other Democratic leaders cutting the vice president out of any direct talks with Congress, feeling that Biden had given too much away during previous negotiations.

Biden's Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized again in 2013. The act led to further related developments in the creation of the , begun in the first term, as well as the , begun in January 2014 with Biden as co-chair along with Jarrett. Biden has a strong stance on sexual assault. For example, Biden stated to a victim of sexual assault at Stanford University, "you did it... in the hope that your strength might prevent this crime from happening to someone else. Your bravery is breathtaking." He has also taken legality into the situation. Biden issued federal guidelines while presenting a speech at the University of New Hampshire. He stated that, "No means no, if you're drunk or you're sober. No means no if you're in bed, in a dorm or on the street. No means no even if you said yes at first and you changed your mind. No means no."

Biden meeting Turkish Prime Minister , December 31, 2014. Biden said that is a "terrorist group"

As , renewed attention was paid to the Biden-Gelb Iraqi federalization plan of 2006, with some observers suggesting that Biden had been right all along. Biden himself said that the U.S. would follow "to the gates of hell."

By 2015, a series of swearings-in and other events where Biden placed his hands on women and girls and talked closely to them had attracted the attention of both the press and social media. In one case, a senator issued a statement afterward saying about his daughter, "No, she doesn't think the vice president is creepy." On January 17, 2015, Secret Service agents heard shots were fired as a vehicle drove near Biden's Delaware residence at 8:28 p.m. outside the security perimeter, but the vice president and his wife, Jill were not home. A vehicle was observed by an agent leaving the scene at a high rate of speed.

On December 8, 2015, Biden spoke in Ukraine's parliament in Kiev in one of his many visits to set USA aid and policy stance for Ukraine. On February 29, 2016, Biden gave a speech at the to do with awareness for sexual assault; he also introduced .

On December 8, 2016, Biden went to to meet with the , .

During his two full terms, Joe Biden never , making him the longest serving Vice President with this distinction.

Death of Beau

On May 30, 2015, Biden's son died of at age 46, after battling it for several years. The nature and seriousness of the illness had not been previously disclosed to the public, and Biden had quietly reduced his public schedule in order to spend more time with his son, who at the time of his death had been widely seen as the frontrunner to be the Democratic nominee for in . The vice president's office issued a statement saying, "The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words."

2016 presidential race

During much of his second term, Biden was said to be preparing for a possible bid for the . At age 74 on in January 2017, he would have been the in history. With his family, many friends, and donors encouraging him in mid-2015 to enter the race, and with 's favorability ratings in decline at that time, Biden was reported to again be seriously considering the prospect and a "Draft Biden 2016" was established.

As of September 11, 2015, Biden was still uncertain whether or not to run. Biden cited the recent death of his son being a large drain on his emotional energy, and that "nobody has a right ... to seek that office unless they're willing to give it 110% of who they are."

On October 21, speaking from a podium in the with his wife and President Obama by his side, Biden announced his decision not to enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2016 election. In January 2016, Biden affirmed not running was the right decision, but he admitted to regretting not running for President "every day."

As of the end of January 2016, neither Biden nor President Barack Obama had endorsed any candidate for the 2016 presidential election. Biden did miss his annual Thanksgiving tradition of going to , opting instead to travel abroad and meet with several European leaders, and took time to meet with , having previously met with . Neither of these meetings were considered endorsements, as Biden has said that he will meet with any candidate who asks.

Following Obama's endorsement of Hillary Clinton on June 9, 2016, Biden also endorsed her later the same day. Though Biden and Clinton were supposed to campaign together in Scranton on July 8, the appearance was canceled by Clinton in light of the the previous day.

Biden meeting with Vice President-elect on November 10, 2016

Following his endorsement of Clinton, Biden publicly displayed his disagreements with the policies of Republican presidential nominee . On June 20, Biden critiqued Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country as well as his stated intent to between the United States and Mexico border, furthering that Trump's suggestion to either torture and or kill family members of terrorists was both damaging to American values and "deeply damaging to our security." During an interview with at the on July 26, Biden asserted that "moral and centered" voters would not vote for Trump. On October 21, the anniversary of his choice to not run, Biden said he wished he was still in high school so he could take Trump "behind the gym." On October 24, Biden clarified he would only have fought Trump if he was still in high school, and the following day, October 25, Trump responded that he'd "love that".

Post-Vice Presidency (2017–present)

Biden campaigning for Alabama U.S. Senate candidate in October 2017

During a tour of the U.S. Senate with reporters before leaving office, on December 5, 2016, Biden refused to rule out a potential bid for the Presidency in the , after leaving office as Vice President. If he were to run in 2020, Biden would be 77 years old on election day and 78 on in 2021. He reasserted his ambivalence about running on an appearance of on December 7, in which he stated "never say never" about running for President in 2020, while also admitting he did not see a scenario in which he would run for office again. He seemingly announced on January 13, 2017, exactly one week prior to the expiration of his vice presidential term, that he would not run. However, four days later, on January 17, he seemed to backtrack, stating "I'll run if I can walk." A known as was formed in January 2018, seeking Biden's entry into the race.

In 2017, he was named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice professor at the , where he will focus on foreign policy, diplomacy, and national security while leading the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. He will also pursue his "Cancer Moonshot" agenda. On March 12, 2017, Biden during a keynote speech at the annual SXSW festival stated, "The only bipartisan thing left in America is the fight against cancer."

During a hedge fund conference interview on May 18, Biden said that he had never been confident in Clinton's candidacy: "I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate."

Biden delivered a speech to the graduating class of on May 21, 2017, calling for a return to "unity and purpose", and three days later expressed confidence in contemporary students being able to handle "the challenges that lie ahead" at Harvard University during the college's Class Day ceremony.

Comments on President Trump

While attending the launch of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement on March 30, 2017, a student asked Biden what "piece of advice" he would give to President Trump, Biden responding that the president should grow up and cease his tweeting so he could focus on the office. During a speech at a May 29, 2017 gathering of supporters at a community center gymnasium, "There are a lot of people out there who are frightened. Trump played on their fears. What we haven’t done, in my view — and this is a criticism of all us — we haven’t spoken enough to the fears and aspirations of the people we come from." On June 17, Biden predicted the "state the nation is today will not be sustained by the American people" while speaking at a fundraiser in .

Climate change

During an appearance at the Brainstorm Health Conference in on May 2, 2017, Biden said the public "has moved ahead of the administration [on science]." On May 31, Biden tweeted that climate change was an "existential threat to our future" and remaining in the was "best way to protect our children and global leadership." The following day, after President Trump announced his withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, Biden tweeted that the choice "imperils US security and our ability to own the clean energy future." While appearing at the Concordia Europe Summit in on June 7, Biden said, referring to the Paris Agreement, "The vast majority of the American people do not agree with the decision the president made."


On March 22, 2017, Biden referred to the Republican healthcare bill as a "tax bill" meant to transfer nearly 1 trillion USD used for health benefits for the lower classes to wealthy Americans during his first appearance on Capitol Hill since Trump's inauguration. On May 4, after the House of Representatives narrowly voted for the , Biden tweeted that it was a "Day of shame for Congress", lamenting the loss of pre-existing condition protections. On June 24, in response to Senate Republicans revealing an American Health Care Act draft the previous day, Biden tweeted that the bill "isn't about health care at all—it's a wealth transfer: slashes care to fund tax cuts for the wealthy & corporations." On July 28, in response to the skinny Republican Senate healthcare bill falling through, Biden tweeted, "Thank you to everyone who tirelessly worked to protect the healthcare of millions."


On September 5, 2017, after Attorney General announced that the Trump Administration is rescinding the , Biden tweeted, "Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they'll be sent to countries they've never known. Cruel. Not America."


On April 14, 2017, Biden released a statement both denouncing authorities for their rounding, torturing, and murdering of "individuals who are believed to be gay" and stating his hope that the Trump administration honor a prior pledge to advance human rights by confronting Russian leaders over "these egregious violations of human rights." June 21, during a speech at a Democratic National Committee gala in , in reference to President Trump's campaign promise to protect the LGBT community, Biden said, "Hold President Trump accountable for his pledge to be your friend." On July 26, after President Trump announced a ban of , Biden tweeted, "Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop."

2020 Presidential campaign

Biden has often been mentioned by media outlets as a potential candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination to run against incumbent President Donald Trump. He told a forum held in on July 17, 2018 that he would decide whether or not to formally declare as a candidate by January 2019.

Political positions

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Biden has supported on in the ; the increased infrastructure spending proposed by the Obama administration;, including , bus, and subway subsidies;; and the reduced military spending proposed in the Obama Administration's fiscal year 2014 budget.

A method that political scientists use for gauging ideology is to compare the annual ratings by the (ADA) with the ratings by the (ACU). Biden has a lifetime 72 percent score from the ADA through 2004, while the ACU awarded Biden a lifetime rating of 13 percent through 2008. Using another metric, Biden has a lifetime average liberal score of 77.5 percent, according to a analysis that places him ideologically among the center of Senate Democrats as of 2008. rates congressional votes as liberal or conservative on the , 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 have given Biden scores or grades as to how well his votes align with the positions of each group. The gives him an 80 percent lifetime score, with a 91 percent score for the 110th Congress. Biden opposes drilling for oil in the and supports governmental funding to find new energy sources. Biden believes action must be taken on . 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 , the most stringent climate bill in the . Biden was given an 85 percent lifetime approval rating from , and he voted for the (NAFTA).


Biden has received from the (1976), ( 1981), (2000), (2003), his alma mater the (2004), (2005), and his other alma mater ( 2009) ( 2013) (2014) ( 2016) ( 2017) (DPS 2017) ( 2017)

President Barack Obama presents Vice President Joe Biden with the during a tribute to the Vice President in the State Dining Room of the White House, January 12, 2017.

Biden also received the Chancellor Medal from his alma mater, , in 1980, and 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 magazine. Also in 2008, Biden shared with fellow Senator the award from the , "in recognition of their consistent support for Pakistan." In 2009, Biden received the award from , that region's highest award, for his vocal support for their independence in the late 1990s.

Biden is an inductee of the Hall of Fame. He was named to the in 2009.

On June 25, 2016, Joe Biden received the of in the .

On January 12, 2017, Obama surprised Biden by awarding him the during a farewell press conference at the White House honoring Biden and his wife. Obama said he was awarding the Medal of Freedom to Biden for "faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations." It was the first and only time Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom with the additional honor of distinction, an honor which his three predecessors had reserved only for President , and , respectively.


Main article:

U.S. Senators are popularly elected and take office January 3 for a six-year term (except when appointed to fill existing vacancies).

Election results Year Office Election Votes for Biden % Opponent Party Votes % 1970 General 10,573 55% Lawrence T. Messick Republican 8,192 43% General 116,006 50% Republican 112,844 49% General 93,930 58% James H. Baxter Jr. Republican 66,479 41% General 147,831 60% John M. Burris Republican 98,101 40% General 112,918 63% Republican 64,554 36% General 165,465 60% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 105,088 38% General 135,253 58% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 94,793 41% General 257,484 65% Republican 140,584 35% Vice President General 69,498,516
(365 electoral votes) 53%
(270 needed) Republican 59,948,323
(173 electoral votes) 46%
--- General 65,915,796
(332 electoral votes) 51%
(270 needed) Republican 60,933,500
(206 electoral votes) 47%

Writings by Biden

  • Biden, Joe (2017). Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose. Flatiron Books.  . 
  • Biden, Joe (2007). Promises to Keep. .  .  Also paperback edition, Random House 2008,  .
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (July 24, 2001). (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office.  . Archived from (PDF) on March 5, 2016. 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (February 12, 2002). (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (August 1, 2002). (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (September 2003). Strategies for Homeland Defense: A Compilation by the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate. Diane Publishing.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (July 8, 2001). (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (September 5, 2001). (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (February 27, 2002). (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (January 2003). Political Future of Afghanistan: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate. Diane Publishing.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (January 2003). International Campaign Against Terrorism: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate. Diane Publishing.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R. (2002). Halting the Spread of HIV/AIDS: Future Efforts in the U.S. Bilateral & Multilateral Response: Hearings before the Comm. on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate. Diane Publishing.  . 
  • Biden Jr., Joseph R.; (April 2000). Hague Convention On International Child Abduction: Applicable Law And Institutional Framework Within Certain Convention Countries Report To The Senate. Diane Publishing.  . 
  • Nicholson, William C. (ed.); with a foreword by Joseph Biden (2005). Homeland Security Law and Policy. C. C Thomas.  . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list ()

See also

  • - A dwarf planet nicknamed Biden because of its discovery in 2012 and its Provisional designation letters VP


  1. Biden has on at least two occasions alleged that the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol, but this was not the case.
  2. Biden chose not to run for president in 1992 in part because he had voted against the resolution authorizing the . He considered joining the Democratic field of candidates for the but in August 2003 decided otherwise, saying he did not have enough time and any attempt would be too much of a long shot. Around 2004, Biden was also widely discussed as a possible Secretary of State in a Democratic administration.
  3. Several and political analysts stated that the correct transcription includes a comma after the word "African-American", which one said "would significantly change the meaning (and the degree of offensiveness) of Biden's comment".
  4. The Indian-American activist who was on the receiving end of Biden's comment stated that he was "100 percent behind [Biden] because he did nothing wrong."
  5. Biden admired McCain politically as well as personally; in May 2004, he had urged McCain to run as vice president with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee , saying the cross-party ticket would help heal the "vicious rift" in U.S. politics.
  6. Biden was the fourth person to run for Vice President and reelection to the Senate simultaneously after , , and , and the second to have won both elections after Johnson.
  7. Delaware's Democratic governor, , announced on November 24, 2008, that she would appoint Biden's longtime senior adviser to succeed Biden in the Senate. Kaufman said he would only serve two years, until . Biden's son ruled himself out of the 2008 selection process due to his impending tour in Iraq with the . He was a possible candidate for the 2010 special election, but in early 2010 said he would not run for the seat.



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