At 4:52AM the word was out to all the world; Senator Barack Obama has chosen Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Let's take a moment to review who this is and what strengths Biden brings to the campaign.
"I've been to Afghanistan, I've been to Iraq seven times, I've been in the Balkans, I've been in these foxholes with these kids, literally in bunkers with them. Let me tell you something, nobody asked anybody else whether they're gay in those foxholes. Our allies -- the British, the French, all our major allies -- gays openly serve. I don't know the last time an American soldier said to a backup from a Brit, 'Hey, by the way, let me check. Are you gay? Are you straight?' This is ridiculous."
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007
Q: In November 2003, you were asked, "Do you believe gay marriage is inevitable?" And you responded, "I'm not sure. I think probably it is."
A: Well, I think it probably is because social mores change. But I don't think the government can dictate the definition of marriage to religious institutions. But government does have an obligation to guarantee that every individual is free of discrimination. And there's a distinction. I think government should not be able to dictate to religions the definition of marriage, but on a civil side, government has the obligation to strip away every vestige of discrimination as to what individuals are able to do in terms of their personal conduct.
So New Hampshire coming out in favor of civil unions is OK by you?
A: Yes. Yes, it is.
Source: Meet the Press: 2007 "Meet the Candidates" series Apr 29, 2007
Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
Voted YES on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes.
Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.
Biden scores 78% by the HRC on gay rights
(Barack Obama scores 89%)
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:
0% - 20%: opposes gay rights (approx. 207 members)
20% - 70%: mixed record on gay rights (approx. 84 members)
70%-100%: supports gay rights (approx. 177 members)
Here are the details on Senator Biden from Wikipedia.com:
Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph R. Biden, Sr. and Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan. He was the first of four siblings and is of Irish Catholic heritage. He has two brothers, James Brian Biden and Francis W. Biden, and a sister, Valerie (Biden) Owens. The Biden family moved to Claymont, Delaware when Biden was 10 years old, and he grew up in suburban New Castle County, Delaware, where his father was a car salesman. In 1961, Biden graduated from Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware and, in 1965, from the University of Delaware in Newark, where he double majored in history and political science. He then attended Syracuse University College of Law, graduated in 1968, and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969.
In 1966, while in law school, Biden married Neilia Hunter. They had three children, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, Robert Hunter, and Naomi. His wife and infant daughter died in a car accident shortly after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. His two young sons, Beau and Hunter, were seriously injured in the accident, but both eventually made full recoveries. Biden was sworn into office from their bedside. Persuaded not to resign in order to care for them, Biden began the practice of commuting an hour and a half each day on the train from his home in the Wilmington suburbs to Washington, DC, which he continues to do.
In 1977, Biden married Jill Tracy Jacobs. They have one daughter, Ashley, and are members of the Roman Catholic Church. In February 1988, Biden was hospitalized for two brain aneurysms which kept him from the Senate for seven months.
Biden's elder son, Beau, was a partner in the Wilmington law firm of Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick, LLC and was elected Attorney General of Delaware in 2006. He is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, where he serves in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps. He is set to be deployed to Iraq in October, 2008. Biden's younger son, Hunter, works as a lawyer in Washington, DC, serves on the board of directors of Amtrak, and previously worked in the Commerce Department.
Since 1991, Biden has also served as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law.
United States Senator
In 1969, Biden began practicing law in Wilmington, Delaware, and was soon elected to the New Castle County, County Council, where he served from 1970 to 1972.
The 1972 U.S. Senate election presented Biden with a unique opportunity. Popular Republican incumbent Senator J. Caleb Boggs was considering retirement, which would likely have left U.S. Representative Pete du Pont and Wilmington Mayor Harry G. Haskell, Jr. in a divisive primary fight. To avoid that, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon was invited to a meeting to convince Boggs to run again with full Republican support. Boggs ran, but Biden eventually won.
Biden took office on January 3, 1973, at age 30, becoming the fifth-youngest U.S. Senator in United States history. At age 30, Biden was at the minimum age to become a U.S. Senator. He has since won additional terms easily, defeating James H. Baxter, Jr. in 1978, John M. Burris in 1984, M. Jane Brady in 1990, and Raymond J. Clatworthy in 1996 and 2002, usually with about 60% of the vote. He is now the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Delaware history. He was running for re-election as senator in 2008.
In 1974 freshman Senator Biden was named one of the 200 Faces for the Future by TIME magazine.
Biden serves on the following committees in the 110th U.S. Congress
Committee on Foreign Relations (Chairman)
As Chairman of the full committee Biden is an ex officio member of each subcommittee.
Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Antitrust Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, (Chairman)
Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
Subcommittee on Immigration Border Security and Citizenship
Subcommittee on Technology Terrorism and Homeland Security
Caucus on International Narcotics Control (Co-Chairman)
For a comprehensive accounting of Biden's voting record see Project Vote Smart and other material noted in the Reference section.
Biden on Meet the PressBiden is a long-time member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which he chaired from 1987 until 1995 and served as ranking minority member from 1981 until 1987 and again from 1995 until 1997. In this capacity, he dealt with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. While chairman, Biden presided over two of the most contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings: Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Biden has been involved in crafting many federal crime laws over the last decade, including the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the Biden Crime Law. He also authored the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which contains a broad array of measures to combat domestic violence and provides billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender-based crimes. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the section of VAWA allowing a federal civil remedy for victims of gender-motivated violence exceeded Congress' authority and therefore was unconstitutional. Congress reauthorized VAWA in 2000 and 2005. In March 2004, Biden enlisted major American technology companies in diagnosing the problems of the Austin, Texas-based National Domestic Violence Hotline, and to donate equipment and expertise to it.
As chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, Biden wrote the laws that created the nation's "Drug Czar," 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 continues to work to stop the spread of "date rape drugs" such as Rohypnol, and drugs such as Ecstasy and Ketamine. In 2004 he worked to pass a bill outlawing steroids like androstenedione, the drug used by many baseball players.
Biden's legislation to promote college aid and loan programs allows families to deduct on their annual income tax 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 gives his opening statement and questions to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David H. Petraeus at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Iraq; September 11, 2007Biden is also a long-time member and current chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In 1997, he became the ranking minority member and chaired the committee from June 2001 through 2003. When Democrats re-took control of the Senate following the 2006 elections, Biden again assumed the top spot on the committee in 2007. His efforts to combat hostilities in the Balkans in the 1990s brought national attention and influenced presidential policy: traveling repeatedly to the region, he made one meeting famous by calling Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic a "war criminal." He consistently argued for lifting the arms embargo, training Bosnian Muslims, investigating war crimes and administering NATO air strikes. Biden's subsequent "lift and strike" resolution was instrumental in convincing President Bill Clinton to use military force in the face of systematic human rights violations. Biden has also called on Libya to release political prisoner Fathi Eljahmi.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Biden was supportive of the Bush administration's efforts, calling for additional ground troops in Afghanistan and agreeing that Saddam Hussein was a threat that needed to be dealt with. 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 for the final resolution to support the war in Iraq. He has long supported the appropriations to pay for the occupation, but has argued repeatedly that more soldiers are needed, the war should be internationalized, and the Bush administration should "level with the American people" about the cost and length of the conflict.
In November 2006, Biden and Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, released a comprehensive strategy to end sectarian violence in Iraq. Rather than continuing the present approach or withdrawing, the plan calls for "a third way": federalizing Iraq and giving Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis "breathing room" in their own regions.
Biden has twice run for the Democratic nomination for President, first in 1988, and again in 2008. Both times he was unsuccessful.
In 2003, Biden considered joining the Democratic field of candidates for the 2004 presidential race but decided otherwise, saying he did not have enough time to cultivate a sufficient fundraising base. Some thought Biden a possible running mate for presidential candidate John Kerry, but Biden urged Kerry to select Republican Senator John McCain instead. Biden also had been widely discussed as a possible U.S. Secretary of State in a Democratic administration.
Main article: Joe Biden presidential campaign, 1988
In 1987, Joe Biden ran as a Democratic presidential candidate, formally declaring his candidacy at the Wilmington train station on June 9, 1987. In his speech, he challenged Americans to step beyond the materialism of the Reagan years. When the campaign began, Biden was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his supposed appeal to Baby Boomers, his fundraising appeal (Biden's $1.7 million raised in the first quarter of 1987 was more than any other candidate, including the then front-runner, Gary Hart), his high profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary committee during the Robert Bork confirmation hearings, and, perhaps above all, his soaring oratory. Biden often seemed to try to inspire the same hope and idealism associated with 1960s liberals such as Robert Kennedy, especially as related to civil rights. He received considerable attention in the summer of 1986 when he excoriated Secretary of State George Shultz at a Senate Hearing because of the Reagan administration's support of South Africa, which continued to support a system of Apartheid. By August 1987, however, Biden's campaign had already begun to lag behind those of Michael Dukakis and Richard Gephardt.
Then in September 1987, the campaign ran into serious trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, then-leader of the British Labour Party. Though Biden had correctly credited the original author in all speeches but one, the one where he failed to make mention of the originator was caught on video. Within days, it was also discovered that, while a first year law student at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Though the then-dean of the law school, as well as Biden's former professor, played down the incident of plagiarism, they did find that Biden drew "chunks of heavy legal prose directly from" the article in question. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record. Biden also released his undergraduate grades, which were unexceptional. Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the "top half" of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85) that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees. In fact he had received two majors, History and Political Science, and a single B.A., as well as a half scholarship based on financial need.
Faced with these revelations, Biden withdrew from the nomination race on September 23, 1987, saying his candidacy had been overrun by "the exaggerated shadow" of his mistakes. After Biden withdrew from the race it was learned that the Dukakis campaign had secretly made a video showcasing the Biden/Kinnock comparison and distributed it to news outlets. Dukakis fired John Sasso, his campaign manager and long-time Chief of Staff.
Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008
Biden declared his candidacy for president on January 31, 2007, although he had discussed running for months prior. 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." He goes on to quote Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen as saying that Biden's candidacy might be endangered by his "manic-obsessive running of the mouth." This foreshadowed Biden's January 31 remark on fellow Democratic candidate and Senator Barack Obama, frequently transcribed as, "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." However, several linguists and political analysts stated that the correct transcription includes a comma after the word "African-American", which "would significantly change the meaning (and the degree of offensiveness) of Biden's comment". Still, his comments took second place on Time magazine's list of Top 10 Campaign Gaffes for 2007.
It had been speculated that Biden would accept the position of Secretary of State because of his foreign policy experience and credentials. However, Biden has rejected the notion outright, saying "Under no administration will I accept the job of Secretary of State" and claimed to be focused 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 commenting that "Joe is right" in the Democratic debates was converted into a Biden campaign theme and ad.
Biden was noted for his one-liners on the campaign trail, saying of then-Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani 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."
On January 3, 2008, during the Iowa caucuses, Biden announced that he would be dropping out of the presidential race when over half of the precincts were tallied in which he only captured 1% of Iowa's delegates behind Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Richardson. He was running instead for a seventh Senate term when, in late August, he was picked by Obama to be his running mate.
Biden's Georgia visit raises speculation about VP nodIn a June 22, 2008, interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Biden confirmed that he would accept the vice presidential nomination if offered. The Associated Press reported on August 22, 2008 that Biden had been chosen by Barack Obama to be his running mate, citing anonymous Democratic Party sources. The choice was confirmed via text message and Obama's official campaign website. The New York Times reported that the strategy behind the choice reflected a desire to fill out the ticket with someone who has foreign policy and national security experience—and not to help the ticket win a swing state or to emphasize Obama's change message. Polling in the days leading up to the announcement indicated Biden's presence on the ticket was unlikely to affect whether voters would support Obama. Biden is up for re-election to the Senate this year and would presumably run in both races. If he won both, he could resign from the Senate and Delaware's Democratic governor, Ruth Ann Minner, would appoint someone else to serve the first two years of his term, possibly his son, Beau Biden.
Biden is considered moderate liberal, with a 77.5 percent liberal voting record in 2006 and lifetime score of 76.8 percent, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Office Type Location Elected Term began Term ends notes
County Council Legislature Wilmington 1970 January 4, 1971 January 3, 1973 4th District
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1972 January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1978 January 3, 1979 January 3, 1985
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1984 January 3, 1985 January 3, 1991
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1990 January 3, 1991 January 3, 1997
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1996 January 3, 1997 January 3, 2003
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 2002 January 3, 2003 January 3, 2009
United States Congressional Service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1973–1975 93rd U.S. Senator Democratic Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1975–1977 94th U.S. Senator Democratic Gerald R. Ford Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1977–1979 95th U.S. Senator Democratic James E. Carter, Jr. Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1979–1981 96th U.S. Senator Democratic James E. Carter, Jr. Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1981–1983 97th U.S. Senator Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1983–1985 98th U.S. Senator Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1985–1987 99th U.S. Senator Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1987–1989 100th U.S. Senator Democratic Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1989–1991 101st U.S. Senator Democratic George H. W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1991–1993 102nd U.S. Senator Democratic George H. W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1993–1995 103rd U.S. Senator Democratic William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1995–1997 104th U.S. Senator Republican William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1997–1999 105th U.S. Senator Republican William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1999–2001 106th U.S. Senator Republican William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2001–2003 107th U.S. Senator Republican
Democratic George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2003–2005 108th U.S. Senator Republican George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2005–2007 109th U.S. Senator Republican George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2007–2009 110th U.S. Senator Democratic George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
Main article: Electoral history of Joe Biden
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1970 County Councilman General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 10,573 55% Lawrence T. Messick Republican 8,192 43%
1972 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 116,006 50% J. Caleb Boggs Republican 112,844 49%
1978 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 93,930 58% James H. Baxter, Jr. Republican 66,479 41%
1984 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 147,831 60% John M. Burris Republican 98,101 40%
1990 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 112,918 63% M. Jane Brady Republican 64,554 36%
1996 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 165,465 60% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 105,088 38%
2002 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 135,253 58% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 94,793 41%
Administration’s Missile Defense Program and the ABM Treaty: Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, December 2004) ISBN 0-7567-1959-3
Examining The Theft Of American Intellectual Property At Home And Abroad: Hearing before the Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, May 2004) ISBN 0-7567-4177-7
Hearings to Examine Threats, Responses, and Regional Considerations Surrounding Iraq: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, November 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2823-1
Strategies for Homeland Defense: A Compilation by the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, September 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2623-9
Putin Administration's Policies toward Non-Russian Regions of the Russian Federation: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, September 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2624-7
Threat of Bioterrorism and the Spread of Infectious Diseases: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, September 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2625-5
How Do We Promote Democratization, Poverty Alleviation, and Human Rights to Build a More Secure Future: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, June 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2478-3
Political Future of Afghanistan: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, January 2003) ISBN 0-7567-3039-2
International Campaign Against Terrorism: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, January 2003) ISBN 0-7567-3041-4
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 edited by Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, 2002) ISBN 0-7567-3454-1
Hague Convention On International Child Abduction: Applicable Law And Institutional Framework Within Certain Convention Countries Report To The Senate by Jesse Helms, Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, April 2000) ISBN 0-7567-2250-0
Homeland security law and policy edited by William C. Nicholson with a foreword by Joseph Biden (C. C Thomas, c2005)
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26. In the video Biden is filmed repeating a stump speech by Kinnock, with only minor modifications. “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife ... is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? ... Is it because they didn't work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It's because they didn't have a platform on which to stand.”
27. a b Dionne Jr., E. J. (September 18, 1987). "Biden Admits Plagiarism in School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'", The New York Times.
28. a b Dionne Jr., E. J. (September 22, 1987). "Biden Admits Errors and Criticizes Latest Report", The New York Times.
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