Profile: Joe Biden

Updated: Nov 02, 2012, 19:04 PM IST

Preeti Panwar

Like the 2008 vice-presidential election, senior US Senator from Delaware, Joseph Robinette Biden is the Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential candidate and incumbent President Barack Obama’s running mate for 2012 election.

Having served as the chairman of Foreign Relations Committee in the past, Biden has served as the 47th Vice-President of the US. Biden is Delaware’s longest serving senator and has served for the sixth longest period among all the current senators.

Born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania in an Irish-Catholic family, he credits his parents for instilling toughness, hard work and perseverance in him. He spent the major part of his life in Delaware and got trained as an attorney. In 1972, he was first elected to the Senate and became one of the youngest senators in the US history. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996 and 2002.

Known as a formidable debater, Biden has a knack of wooing the blue-collar white voters. Both the Democrat fellows, Obama and Biden are complementary to each other. With a good sense of humour, Biden knows how to make combative attack on his opponents.

In 2008, he convincingly defeated his Republican challenger Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. This time Republican candidate Paul Ryan will face the long-tenured senator.
In 2010, Vice President Biden used his well-established Senate connections to help secure passage of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and Russia.

As the Vice-President, Biden has always played an important advisory role. He once said, “Barack is going to be the guy who makes the policies and makes the decision. I`ll give my best judgement.”

Biden has played active roles in formulating the Obama administration`s policies on Iraq and Afghanistan and has emerged as unquestionably one of the most important political figures in recent history.

In 2007, he described Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy".

While delivering the victory speech in 2008, Obama praised his running mate, Biden by calling him "my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart".

Just a few weeks after he won the 1972 Senate election, he lost his wife and one and a half year old daughter to a fatal accident. He remained a single father to his two sons for almost five years. In 1977, he again got married to Jill with whom he has a daughter, Ashley.

Biden also harboured the dreams of the White House twice but was unsuccessful both the times. In 1988, he had unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination and in 2008, he had to withdraw from caucuses from Iowa.

Biden’s experience, life of pain and sacrifice, his middle class roots may attract huge support from the working classes whose votes Obama may fail to manage.

A sworn supporter of India, Biden has throughout voiced his support in favour of the Indo-US nuke deal. In 2006 also, he had played a significant role in the Congressional approval of the Hyde Act. He has throughout supported George W. Bush building a strong diplomatic relation with India. He was a strong critic of the economic sanctions imposed on India after the 1998 nuclear tests.

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