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Joe Biden

"The next Democratic leader, and this is what the presidential election is all about, has to challenge the American people, tell them the truth, and trust them." - Joe Biden

Statistics -

FULL NAME: Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
DATE OF BIRTH: November 20, 1942
AGE: 65
SPOUSE: Jill Tracy Jacobs
CHILDREN: Beau, Hunter, and Ashley
PETS: 1 Cat
RESIDENCE: Wilmington, DE
RELIGION: Roman Catholic
FAVORITE BOOK/LAST READ: American Gospel, Irish America/Runaway Jury
TALENTS: Designing homes & sketching
WORST HABIT: "Too many to list!"
LAST MUSIC PURCHASE: Sister's Playlist

QUICK FACT: Joe had a debilitating stutter as a child and would recite poetry in front of a mirror for hours as a way to relax his muscles and learn to speak more confidently. Today, Joe often quotes poetry on the Senate floor. 


Biography -

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."



Platform Issues -


If we should be surging forces anywhere, it is to Afghanistan. That country is not lost, but it is on the brink of a major comeback by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, warlords and drug traffickers. Our necessary investment in blood and treasure risks being squandered -- we need an infusion of military and economic assistance and a plan to wean that country away from drugs.

Climate Change:

The United States, as the strongest nation in the world, must return to a leadership role to solve global warming. Containing greenhouse gas emissions within our own borders is a necessary and important start - but it is not enough. Biden has led a bipartisan coalition calling on the President to return to negotiations for a new climate change treaty. Developing countries - China, India, Mexico, Korea and Brazil - will soon be the greatest source of greenhouse gas pollution. They must be a part of the solution. But we cannot exert pressure on these countries until we take meaningful action to limit greenhouse gas emissions here at home. Biden supports a "cap and trade" approach to regulating emissions and investment in technologies that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Biden is the author of the most innovative and far-reaching criminal justice proposals in recent history including the Violence Against Women Act which established that national domestic violence hotline and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which was responsible for putting more than 100,000 police officers on the streets. Biden has fought to protect support for state and local law enforcement. But the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress slashed billions in federal assistance for state and local law enforcement and completely eliminated the COPS hiring program. Cities have been forced to reduce the size of their police forces. Biden's priority is restoring the nearly $2 billion dollars that has been cut from state and local law enforcement.


This administration rightly called what's going on in Darfur genocide, but it has failed to match its words with deeds. Biden has been calling for NATO to declare and police a "No Fly Zone" over Darfur; for an international peacekeeping mission we should impose if Khartoum says no; and serious sanctions against the regime which is aiding and abetting the slaughter of innocents.


Over the past two decades we have made incredible strides in updating our education system. Fifteen years ago it would have been hard to imagine students linked through a high-tech video and high-speed internet network to other students and teachers across the country or teachers interacting with parents via email. New technology holds promise for our education system that we're only beginning to discover. But nothing is more essential than quality educators and engaged parents. Biden believes that to fulfill the promise to leave no child behind we have to direct adequate resources to update schools, reduce class size and school size, reward quality educators, and improve teacher pay.


Biden believes that domestic energy policy is at the center of our foreign and economic policies. Most of the world's oil is concentrated in nations that are either hostile to American interests or vulnerable to political upheaval and terrorism. Our oil dependence undercuts the advance of freedom and limits our options and influence around the world because oil rich countries pursuing policies we oppose can stand up to us and undermine the resolve of our allies. Profits from the sale of oil help fuel the fundamentalism we are fighting. High energy prices hurt business' bottom line.

Biden's first priority is energy security. He believes we can strengthen security by reducing our oil consumption by increasing fuel efficiency, transitioning to farm-grown fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, and expanding the use of renewable energy. Biden would make a substantial national commitment by dramatically increasing investment in energy and climate change research and technology so that that United States becomes the world leader in developing and exporting alternative energy.


Biden believes that we have to address our out-dated health care system. The next president will have to deal with two challenges: containing the growing costs of health care and providing access to the 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance.

We need to take three steps to contain the cost of health care: modernize the system, simplify the system and reduce errors. Biden supports the transition to secure electronic records so that people can provide their doctors and nurses with vital medical information in real time. He believes there should be a uniform, efficient system to submit claims.

Biden believes the path toward a 21st century health care system starts with the most vulnerable in our society. He would expand health insurance for children and relieve families and businesses of the burden of expensive catastrophic cases. He supports states that are pursuing innovative alternatives to make sure that everyone has access to health care and believes we should use data from these states to evaluate what works best in providing affordable access to health care for all.

Higher Education:

Biden believes that high school students should be engaged in planning and saving for college earlier in their careers so that students in their senior year are not overwhelmed by the process of applying to college and figuring out how to pay for it. He would expand national service programs to high school students so that they can earn money for college by participating in public service while they are in high school.  Biden believes that every American should have access to higher education. In order to compete in a global economy the American workforce has to protect its edge in education. A college degree is more valuable than ever - and more expensive. As a parent, Biden knows how tuition costs drain family savings. He would expand help for families by increasing the tax deduction for tuition payments. He would expand Pell grants to cover the average tuition at public colleges for low income families.

Homeland Security:

This Administration and the Republican led Congress have refused to make the necessary investment in our homeland security. Our ports, chemical plants, railways and other critical infrastructure are not secure. Our local police agencies are stretched too thin, and our first responders still cannot talk to each other in the event of an emergency of natural disaster. The 9/11 Commission gave us a blue print for what we need to protect against terrorist attacks here at home. To be sure, implementing it will cost more. But we can easily afford it - if we change our priorities. This year, the budget for the Department of Homeland Security is $35 billion; at $60 billion, the tax cut for millionaires is nearly double that amount. Biden would take back one year of the tax cuts for Americans who make over a million dollars a year, and put this money in a dedicated Homeland Security and Public Safety Trust Fund to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations and invest in law enforcement.
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President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in Iraq. His strategy is to prevent defeat and to hand the problem off to his successor. As a result, more and more Americans understandably want a rapid withdrawal, even at the risk of trading a dictator for chaos and a civil war that could become a regional war. Both are bad alternatives. There is 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.
(Read More


To protect jobs, compete in a global economy and strengthen families Biden believes the next President must first address two things: energy security and health care. This is not our father's economy - America now competes in a global economy. The price of energy is set by the global marketplace. Developing our own sources of energy aren't enough to protect us from high prices that cost businesses and families -- we must invest in using energy more efficiently and become the leader in energy innovation. By 2008, the average Fortune 500 company will spend as much on health care as it will make in profit. In other countries their competitors will not have to bear these costs. America will continue to dominate the global economy by putting energy security and health care reform at the top of the agenda.


Voting Record -

For Biden's Voting Record on issues such as Abortion, Civil Rights, Environment, Gun Control, Immigration, and more, please see:



"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.” 


We thank the following resources:

Joe Biden Official Website
USA Today
Project Vote Smart
On the Issues



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