DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE - JOE BIDEN
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is an American lawyer and politician. He is a member of the Democratic Party and the incumbent senior U.S. Senator from Delaware. Biden is currently serving his sixth term and is Delaware's longest-serving Senator. He is the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 110th Congress. Biden has served in that position in the past, and he has served as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Biden was born November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph R. Biden, Sr. and Catherine Eugenia Finnegan. He was the first of four siblings and was raised in his Irish American mother's Roman Catholic religion. The Biden family moved to 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, Delaware. 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. III (Beau), Robert Hunter, and Amy. His wife and infant daughter died in an automobile accident shortly after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate. 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. In 1977, Biden married Jill Tracy Jacobs. They have one child, Ashley, and are members of the Roman Catholic Church.
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 an unusual opportunity that only he seemed to recognize. 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 without much enthusiasm, which combined with the new 18-year old voters, and a serious underestimation of Biden's campaign abilities, resulted in the very surprising Biden victory.
Biden took office on January 3, 1973, at age 30, becoming the fifth-youngest U.S. Senator in United States history. 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 percent of the vote. In February 1988, Biden was hospitalized for two brain aneurysms which kept him from the U.S. Senate for seven months He is now Delaware's longest-serving U.S. Senator ever. In the small state of Delaware, Biden is highly regarded, mostly because of his frequent presence and attention to local needs. Because of his daily commute, he is a strong and knowledgeable advocate for Amtrak. He also watches closely the interests of the Dover U.S. Air Force Base and the downstate chicken processing industry.
Biden 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 has become one of the more experienced Senators on drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. While chairman, Biden presided over two of the more contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings ever, Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991. Since 1991, Biden has served as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law.
Biden has been instrumental in crafting significant 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 ground breaking measures to combat domestic violence and provides billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender-based crimes. Although part of this legislation later was struck down as unconstitutional, it was reauthorized 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, the RAVE Act. He continues to work to stop the spread of so called, "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. Throughout his career Biden has vehemently opposed tort reform, while continuously joining Senate Republicans to support stricter bankruptcy laws.
Biden is also long-time member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has gained considerable expertise in foreign policy, national security, and arms control. In 1997, he became the ranking minority member and chaired the committee from June 2001 through 2003. 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.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Biden was supportive of the Bush administration efforts, calling for additional ground troops in Afghanistan and agreeing with the administration's assertion that Saddam Hussein needed to be eliminated. 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 supported the final resolution of support for war in Iraq. He has long supported the Bush Administration's war effort and appropriations to pay for it, 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 that can achieve the two objectives most Americans share: to bring our troops home without leaving chaos behind. The idea is to maintain a unified Iraq by federalizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis breathing room in their own regions."
JO BIDEN QUOTES
"I know what defines an American from the neighborhood I was raised in, the influence of my faith, and my life experiences."
"Like every American, I have had my share of loss and pain and trial, but they have helped me learn about so many incredibly decent Americans who came to my aide."
"What I'm most proud of in my entire career was writing the Violence Against Women's Act because it is evidence we can change people's lives, but the change is always one person at a time."
"No civil right is of value to Americans if their streets are not safe, if they cannot send their kids safely to school, if they are unable to walk out of their house in their neighborhood."
"I truly believe the American public is waiting for leaders to come along who have the experience to say what they will do to restore America's leadership in the world.”
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Joe Biden Official Website
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