Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is an American politician who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 and represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009.
A member of the Democratic Party, Biden is a candidate for president in the 2020 election.
He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and in 2008.
- Full name: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.
- Profession: American politician
- Former Vice President of the United States
- Born: 20 November 1942 (age 77 years), Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
- Party: Democratic Party
- Spouse: Jill Biden (m. 1977), Neilia Hunter (m. 1966–1972)
- Education: College of Law – Syracuse University (1968), University of Delaware (1965), Archmere Academy (1961)
- Children: Hunter Biden, Ashley Biden, Naomi Biden, Beau Biden
- Grandchildren: Natalie Biden, Finnegan Biden, Robert Biden II, Naomi Biden, Maisy Biden
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About Joe Biden
Biden was born on 20 November 1942, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States. To Catherine Eugenia Biden (née Finnegan; July 7, 1917 – January 8, 2010) and Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. (November 13, 1915 – September 2, 2002).
The first of four siblings in a Catholic family, he had a sister and two brothers. His mother was of Irish descent, with roots variously attributed to County Louth and County Londonderry.
His paternal grandparents, Mary Elizabeth (née Robinette) and Joseph H. Biden, an oil businessman from Baltimore, Maryland, were of English, French, and Irish descent.
His paternal third great-grandfather, William Biden, was born in Sussex, England, and immigrated to the United States.
His maternal great-grandfather, Edward Francis Blewitt, was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Biden’s father was wealthy but had suffered several financial setbacks 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 fell into economic decline during the 1950s, Biden’s father could not find sustained work.
In 1953, the Bidens moved into an apartment in Claymont, Delaware, where they lived for several years before again moving to a house in Wilmington, Delaware.
Joe Biden Sr. later became a successful used car salesman, maintaining the family’s middle-class lifestyle.
Biden attended the Archmere Academy in Claymont where he was a standout halfback and wide receiver on the high school football team; he helped lead a perennially losing team to an undefeated season in his senior year. He played on the baseball team as well.
During these years, he participated in an anti-segregation sit-in at a Wilmington theatre. Academically, he was a poor student but was considered a natural leader among the students and elected class president during his junior and senior years. He graduated in 1961.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1965 from the University of Delaware, with a double major in history and political science, graduating with a class rank of 506 out of 688.
He impressed his classmates with his cramming abilities, and played halfback for the Blue Hens freshman football team.
In 1964, while on spring break in the Bahamas, he met and began dating Neilia Hunter, who was from an affluent background in Skaneateles, New York, and attended Syracuse University.
He told her 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 defensive back, enabling him to spend more time visiting her.
He then entered Syracuse University College of Law, later saying that he found law school “the biggest bore in the world” and that he pulled many all-nighters to get by.
During his first year there, Biden was accused of having plagiarized five of 15 pages of a law review article.
He said that it was inadvertent, because he did not know the proper rules of citation. He was given an F grade and required to retake a course.
This incident was cited in 1987, when plagiarism accusations arose during his first run for president.
Biden received his Juris Doctor in 1968, graduating 76th of 85 in his class. He was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1969.
Biden received student draft deferments during this period. After completing his studies, the Selective Service System classified him as unavailable for service due to a history of asthma.
He has had a problem with stuttering throughout his life, especially in his childhood and his early twenties, and says he has helped reduce the problem by spending many hours reciting poetry in front of a mirror.
But he continues to have problems with stuttering, and it has been suggested that this has affected his performance in Democratic debates during his 2020 campaign for the presidency.
Negative impressions of drinking alcohol in the Biden and Finnegan families and in the neighbourhood led Biden to be a non-drinker.
Biden was raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and New Castle County, Delaware. He studied at the University of Delaware before receiving his law degree from Syracuse University.
He became a lawyer in 1969 and was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. He was elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 1972, when he became the sixth-youngest senator in American history.
Biden was re-elected six times and was the fourth-most senior senator when he resigned to assume the vice presidency in 2009.
As a senator, Biden was a long time member and eventually chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
He opposed the Gulf War in 1991 but advocated for U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War in 1994 and 1995, expanding NATO in the 1990s, and the 1999 bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo War.
He argued and voted for the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002 but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007.
He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties, as well as the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
Biden led the efforts to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
In 2008, Biden was the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. He was the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president of the United States.
As vice president, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending to counteract the Great Recession and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq through the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.
His negotiations with congressional Republicans helped the Obama administration pass legislation including the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which resolved a taxation deadlock; the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved that year’s debt ceiling crisis; and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending fiscal cliff. Obama and Biden were re-elected in 2012.
In October 2015, after months of speculation, Biden announced he would not seek the presidency in the 2016 election. In January 2017, Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
After completing his second term as vice president, Biden joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Practice. He announced his 2020 candidacy for president on April 25, 2019.