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Who is Joe Biden?

Take a closer look at the former vice president.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Born: November 20, 1942

Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania

Age on Inauguration Day: 78

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website: joebiden.com

Education: University of Delaware (Bachelor’s Degrees in history and political science); Syracuse Law (Juris Doctor)

Professions: Attorney

Public office: 47th Vice President of the United States (2009-2017); Elected to seven terms as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Personal: Married Neilia Hunter in 1966 and had three children. Neilia and their infant daughter, Naomi, died in a car crash in December 1972. His two sons were seriously hurt. Married Jill Jacobs in 1977 and the couple have one daughter.

Life and career:

  • Stuttered as a child and was teased, but he overcame it by memorizing and reciting long passages of poetry in the mirror.
  • Biden considered putting his political career on hold after his wife and daughter died one month after his election to the Senate but chose to serve and took the oath from his sons’ hospital room.
  • Ran for president in 1988 but dropped out after reports that he plagiarized part of a speech.
  • After he dropped out, doctors discovered two life-threatening brain aneurysms. After surgery complications and a long recovery, Biden returned to the Senate after a seven-month recovery.
  • Led effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
  • Voted for authorization of the Iraq War in 2003 but has since criticized how it was handled.
  • Ran for president again in 2008 but struggled to gain traction and dropped out before being named Barack Obama’s running mate.
  • In 2008, Biden won both the vice presidency and re-election to a seventh term in the Senate. Biden was sworn in at the start of the new Congress then resigned 12 days later to become vice president.
  • With deep roots in the Senate, he was an active and influential vice president, helping to negotiate with Republicans to avoid budget crises. He also headed up a task force on gun control following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn.
  • Suffered another personal tragedy in 2015 when son Beau died at age 46 after battling brain cancer.
  • Was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian honor -- by Obama just before the pair left office. Obama added the veneration “with distinction” to the award, which had been given only three times previously.
  • Chose not to run for president in 2016 as his family grieved over Beau’s death. Biden later said in an interview that he felt he was the most qualified person but that he couldn’t put his whole heart and soul into a campaign at the time.

Sources:  Biography.com; Britannica.com; Washington Post; Associated Press; LegalMomentum.org; OnTheIssues.org; NBC News

Credit: AP
Former vice president Joe Biden talks with officials after speaking at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston, Thursday, April 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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