Who is he: Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the Vice President of the United States and was a US Senator from Delaware from 1973 to January 2009 when he was elected VP. Rising from rather humble circumstances and his surprising win in the 1972 senate election, Biden suffered personal tragedy with the loss of his first wife and youngest child in an automobile accident.
Biden was a single dad but remarried five years after the accident. Biden's constituency reelected him every six years until he was tapped by President Obama to be his vice presidential running mate. Biden also ran for the Democrat nomination for president several times with limited results. In 1988, he suffered an aneurysm and was administered the last rites but survived after several setbacks.
Joe Biden has spent a long time on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary where he has worked in drug policy, civil liberties and preventing crime, all advocating big-government solutions. Biden was also involved in the Thomas and Bork hearings promoting the liberal agenda. Biden served as chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus and helped write bad legislation creating the Drug Czar.
He is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and followed a liberal internationalist foreign policy, especially in the Bosnia war, but did question some US Middle East policies. Unlike most of the power elite, Biden certainly has not become rich with his political activities. Biden is constantly ranked as one of the poorest members of the Senate with a net worth somewhere between $100,000 and $400,000.
Background: Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born November 20, 1942 in Scranton, PA and moved to Delaware when he was ten years old due to family financial difficulties. He grew up in an Irish Catholic middle class environment and attended Archmere Academy in Claymont, where he excelled in sports rather than academics.
After high school, Biden attended the University of Delaware in Newark and graduated in 1965 with a B.A. and double major in history and political science – once again doing well in sports and last minute cramming. Biden ranked 506 out of 688 students in his graduating class. This was during the Vietnam War and Biden continued his five military education deferments lasting from 1963 to 1968, avoiding the draft by next going to law school at Syracuse University College of Law and eventually receiving his law degree in 1968.
Joe Biden married his first wife, Neila Hunter, in 1966 and they had three children. In 1969 Biden started practicing law in Wilmington, DE and later won a race as a Democrat for the New Castle County Council. Biden won his first Senate election in 1972 but a few weeks later his wife and youngest daughter were killed in an automobile accident. This was a trying time for Biden but he put his two remaining boys first and after some urging from Mike Mansfield decided not to resign but to stay in the Senate, commuting from Wilmington, DE each day to DC by train. His two remaining sons went on to successful careers, his eldest son, Beau, became Attorney General of Delaware and an Army Judge Advocate serving in Iraq, and Hunter, his younger son, became an attorney and lobbyist in Washington. Biden remarried Jill Jacobs five years after the tragic accident. They have one daughter, Ashley.
Biden seems more spontaneous than most politicians. His funny mistakes of saying what is really on his mind and mistakenly using swear words in public does provide some humor in an otherwise very drab and controlled political system.