Archive for Saturday, August 23, 2008

Biden known for international expertise, willingness to speak his mind

Del. senator first elected at age 29

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., listens to testimony during a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Sept. 19, 2006 file photo. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is Barack Obama's pick as vice presidential running mate, The Associated Press has learned Saturday Aug. 23, 2008.

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., listens to testimony during a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Sept. 19, 2006 file photo. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is Barack Obama's pick as vice presidential running mate, The Associated Press has learned Saturday Aug. 23, 2008.

August 23, 2008

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Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

Barack Obama told everyone he wanted a running mate who will challenge his thinking, and now he's got one. Joe Biden's tendency to speak his own mind - and speak and speak - is entwined in his DNA.

The loquacious Delaware senator brings more than verbiage to Obama's side. Biden is a foreign policy heavyweight with a decade longer in the Senate than the seasoned Republican presidential candidate, John McCain. That's almost three more decades of experience than his new boss.

In Washington, Biden, 65, is known as a collegial figure even when he's competitive - one who can spin flowery praise one moment and biting fulmination the next.

His second presidential campaign faltered early on, just one of the Democrats shunted to the sidelines as the bracing contest between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton sucked the air out of the rest of the field.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is one of the most influential foreign policy voices in Congress. An internationalist and strong supporter of the United Nations, he is a leading critic of what he sees as the vague, unilateralist approach of President Bush.

Biden voted in 2002 to authorize the Iraq invasion, which Obama opposed from the start. Since then, he's become a firm critic of the conflict and pushed through a resolution last year declaring that Bush's troop increase - now considered a military success - was "not in the national interest."

One of the youngest politicians ever elected to the Senate - he was 29 - Biden entered the 1988 Democratic presidential primary promising to "rekindle the fire of idealism in our society." He reluctantly quit the race three months later after he was caught lifting lines from a speech by a British Labour Party leader.

In his latest effort, Biden proved to be a cheerful campaigner who mixed easily with voters, got along with rivals and displayed a self-deprecating sense of humor that leavened debates and speeches. When he was asked in one debate whether he's much too wordy, he drew laughs with a one-word answer, "No."

Obama jumped in to defend him on another occasion when he was asked if he had a problem with minorities.

The question was rooted in Biden's occasional gaffes. He had apologized earlier for describing Obama as "articulate" and "clean" in one unguarded episode that was taken by some to have a racial overtone. And he'd had to defend his remark that "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."

Biden confronted tragedy five weeks after his first election. In 1972, his first wife, Neilia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed when a tractor-trailer broad-sided her station wagon as she drove home with a family Christmas tree. His sons Beau and Hunt were badly hurt.

He was sworn in from the hospital bedside of one his sons and still won't work on Dec. 18, the date of the accident.

In 1977, Biden married Jill Tracy Jacobs. They have a daughter, Ashley. Both of his sons are lawyers, and the elder son, Beau, was elected state attorney general of Delaware in November.

Biden himself had a close brush with death in February 1988, when he was hospitalized for two brain aneurysms. It was seven months before he could return to the Senate.

Comments

beatrice 7 years ago

I guess McCain is going to have to pick Romney if he wants to gather any of the "family values" voters. Of course, we all know that Romney calls McCain "dishonest." "They will lie to the American People to keep themselves in Power, and will sacrifice the United States and the Best interests of the US for their own short term political game." Asbestos, I thought you might be talking about Bush / Cheney, but then I realized that the damage done to the country from those two is far from "short term." McCain wants to continue too many of Bush's policies, and people will not allow the long term sacrifice of our country to continue. Obama / Biden 2008!

BuffyloGal 7 years ago

Would anyone suggest that the racist portion of our population that can't vote for a black man would be more willing to vote for a black man and a woman? Get real! A white guy was by far the best choice here for obvious reasons. Why this white guy is debatable, but it's done. Now all those jerks who wouldn't vote for a woman, especially HRC, will now have a comfortable alternative to ease their minds and pretend men still control everything. And no, I am not a bitter supporter of HRC, just someone who can see this country for what it is.

ASBESTOS 7 years ago

Biden has a big mouth."STILL Anything is better than the idiot we have::::"With this choice, it is just Business as usual, BAU, and Obama just ran out and exposed himself on his platform of "change". IT is clearly BS now. With Biden, the Democratic Party will implode in this Presidential Election."The idiots" we have in the Administration now are exactly like the ones the Democrats are pubbing up as their "solution":Bush A clueless moron with no experience.Obama a clueless moron with no expericenc.Cheney, a Washington Insider that "knows how DC works".Biden, a Washington Insider that "knows how DC works."TThere is no change here, just window dressing, and whether there is a D or anTR after their names, know this:They will lie to the American People to keep themselves in Power, and will sacrifice the United States and the Best interests of the US for their own short term political game.If the media would wake uyp out of their "Wet panties for Obama" and look at this thing pragmatically, they would see no difference between the "Change" and the current status quo.

ridinthefence 7 years ago

Bush - uneducated idiotCheney - a Washington insider that knows how DC works????????? right!

VTHawk 7 years ago

Just the change that Obama was looking for......36 years in Washington as a Senator?!?I think that this pick will change the message a bit for both sides, and take PA out of contention. Oh, thanks for promising a text message and then deciding not to send it until morning.

ridinthefence 7 years ago

STILL Anything is better than the idiot we have............

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Biden's a mainstream European-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.{snort}

janeyb 7 years ago

The text message thing was just to get phone numbers and other private information. Expect lots of text messages from the Obama campaign between now and November. My parents disconnected their land line several weeks ago. They saw no reason to keep paying ATT when the only calls they were getting was from the Democrats for Obama. Biden-- an old, old Washington, white male Senator. Excellent choice.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

The Dwead Piwate Wove is waughing at your impotent wage!

KS 7 years ago

Biden? You mean that same guy that plagiarized a speech of Tony Blair? Joe Biden's problem, along with having an ego greater than Obama, is that he just doesn't know when to shut up. Good choice Obama. The GOP is licking their chops.

ASBESTOS 7 years ago

Bea you are so clueless it boggls the mind.

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