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  •  Joe Biden

    "Biden" and "Joseph Biden" redirect here. For his son Joseph Biden III, see Beau Biden . For other uses, see

    Biden (disambiguation) .

    Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (/ ˈbaɪdən/

    BY-dən ; born November 20, 1942) is the 46th and current president of the United States . A member of the

    Democratic Party , Biden previously served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017. He represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009.

    Raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and

    New Castle County, Delaware , Biden studied at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree from

    Syracuse University in 1968. He was elected a New Castle County Councillor in 1970 and became the sixth-youngest senator in American history when he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 1972 , at the age of 29. Biden was a longtime member of the

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and eventually became its chairman. He opposed the Gulf War in 1991 and supported expanding the NATO alliance into Eastern Europe and its intervention in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. He supported the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002, and later opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007 . He also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987 to 1995, dealing with drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties issues; led the effort to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act ; and oversaw six

    U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, including the contentious hearings for Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas . He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and again in 2008 .

    Biden was reelected to the Senate six times, and was the fourth-most senior senator when he resigned to serve as

    Barack Obama 's vice president after they won the 2008 presidential election ; Obama and Biden were

    reelected in 2012. As vice president, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending in 2009 to counteract the Great Recession . His negotiations with congressional Republicans helped pass legislation including the 2010 Tax Relief Act , which resolved a taxation deadlock; the Budget Control Act of 2011 , which resolved a debt ceiling crisis ; and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending "fiscal cliff". He also led efforts to pass the United States–Russia New START treaty and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq through the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011 . Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting , he led the

    Gun Violence Task Force . In January 2017, Obama awarded Biden the

    Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.

    In April 2019, Biden announced his candidacy in the 2020 presidential election , and he reached the delegate threshold needed to secure the Democratic nomination in June 2020. [1] In August, he announced his choice of Senator Kamala Harris of

    California as his running mate. Biden and Harris won the general election with 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump 's 232. On January 20, 2021, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. [2] He is the oldest president at inauguration, the first president from Delaware , and the second Catholic president (following John F. Kennedy ).

    Early life (1942–1965)

    See also: Family of Joe Biden

    Biden at age 10 (1953)

    Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born November 20, 1942, [3] at St. Mary's Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania, [4] :5 to Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Biden (née Finnegan) and Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. [5][6] The oldest child in a Catholic family, he has a sister, Valerie , and two brothers, Francis and James.[4] :9 Jean was of Irish descent, [7][8][4] :8 while Joseph Sr. had English , French, and Irish ancestry. [9][4] :8

    Biden's father was initially wealthy, but suffered financial setbacks around the time Biden was born, [10][11][4] :7–8 and for several years the family lived with Biden's maternal grandparents. [12] Scranton fell into economic decline during the 1950s and Biden's father could not find steady work. [13] Beginning in 1953, the family lived in an apartment in Claymont, Delaware , then moved to a house in

    Wilmington, Delaware. [12] Biden Sr. later became a successful used car salesman , maintaining the family in a middle-class lifestyle.[12][13][14]

    At Archmere Academy in Claymont, [4]

    :27, 32 Biden was a standout halfback and wide receiver on the high school football team; [12][15] he also played baseball. [12] Though a poor student, he was class president in his junior and senior years. [4] :40–41 [16] :99 He graduated in 1961. [4] :40–41

    At the University of Delaware in

    Newark , Biden briefly played freshman football [17][18] and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965 with a double major in history and political science, and a minor in English . [19][16] :98 He had a C average and ranked 506th in his class of 688. [20][21]

    Biden has a stutter, which has improved since his early twenties. [22] He says he has reduced it by reciting poetry before a mirror, [16] :99 [23] but it has been suggested that it affected his performance in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential debates .[24]

    First marriage, law school, and early career (1966–1972)

    Biden in the University of Delaware 's 1965 yearbook

    On August 27, 1966, Biden married

    Neilia Hunter (1942–1972), a student at

    Syracuse University , [19] after overcoming her parents' reluctance for her to wed a Roman Catholic; the ceremony was held in a Catholic church in Skaneateles, New York. [25] They had three children: Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III (1969–2015), Robert Hunter Biden (born 1970), and Naomi Christina "Amy" Biden (1971–1972). [19]

    In 1968, Biden earned a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law , ranked 76th in his class of 85, [20]

    [21] and was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1969. [26] While in school, he received student draft deferments, [27] and afterward was classified as unavailable for military service due to

    asthma. [27][28]

    In 1968, Biden clerked at a Wilmington law firm headed by prominent local

    Republican William Prickett and, he later said, "thought of myself as a Republican". [29][30] He disliked incumbent Democratic Delaware governor Charles L. Terry's conservative racial politics and supported a more liberal Republican,

    Russell W. Peterson, who defeated Terry in 1968. [29] Biden was recruited by local Republicans but registered as an Independent because of his distaste for Republican presidential candidate

    Richard Nixon. [29]

    In 1969, Biden practiced law first as a

    public defender and then at a firm headed by a locally active Democrat [31][29] who named him to the Democratic Forum, a group trying to reform and revitalize the state party; [4] :86 Biden subsequently reregistered as a Democrat. [29] He and another attorney also formed a law firm. [31] Corporate law , however, did not appeal to him, and criminal law did not pay well.[12] He supplemented his income by managing properties. [32]

    In 1970, Biden ran for the 4th District Seat on the New Castle County Council on a liberal platform that included support for public housing in the suburbs. [4] :59 [31][33] The seat had been held by Republican Henry R. Folsom, who was running in the 5th District following a reapportionment of council districts. [34][35][36] Biden won the general election, and took office on January 5, 1971. [37][38] He served until January 1, 1973, and was succeeded by Democrat Francis R. Swift. [39][40][41]

    [42] During his time on the county council, Biden opposed large highway projects he argued might disrupt Wilmington neighborhoods. [4] :62

    1972 U.S. Senate campaign in Delaware

    Main article: 1972 United States Senate election in Delaware

    Results of the 1972 U.S. Senate election in

    Delaware

    In 1972, Biden defeated Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs to become the junior U.S. senator from Delaware. He was the only Democrat willing to challenge Boggs.[31] His campaign had almost no money, and he was given no chance of winning. [12] Family members managed and staffed the campaign, which relied on meeting voters face-to-face and hand-distributing position papers, [43] an approach made feasible by Delaware's small size. [32] He received some help from the AFL–CIO and Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell . [31] His platform focused on withdrawal from Vietnam, the environment, civil rights, mass transit, more equitable taxation, health care, and public dissatisfaction with "politics as usual". [31][43] A few months before the election Biden trailed Boggs by almost thirty percentage points, [31] but his energy, attractive young family, and ability to connect with voters' emotions worked to his advantage, [14] and he won with 50.5 percent of the vote. [43]

    Death of wife and daughter

    On December 18, 1972, a few weeks after the election, Biden's wife Neilia and one-year-old daughter Naomi were killed in an automobile accident while Christmas shopping in Hockessin, Delaware .[19][44] Neilia's station wagon was hit by a tractor-trailer truck as she pulled out from an intersection. Their sons Beau (age 3) and Hunter (age 2) survived the accident and were taken to the hospital in fair condition, Beau with a broken leg and other wounds, and Hunter with a minor skull fracture and other head injuries. [4]

    :93, 98 Doctors soon said both would make full recoveries.[4] :96 Biden considered resigning to care for them, [14] but Senate Majority Leader

    Mike Mansfield persuaded him not to. [45]

    Years later, Biden said he had heard that the truck driver allegedly drank alcohol before the collision. The driver's family denied that claim, and the police never substantiated it. Biden later apologized to the family. [46][47]

    [48][49][50]

    U.S. Senate (1973–2009)

    Main article: United States Senate career of Joe Biden

    Second marriage

    Biden and his second wife, Jill , met in 1975 and married in 1977.

    Biden was sworn in on January 5, 1973, by secretary of the Senate Francis R. Valeo at the Delaware Division of the Wilmington Medical Center .[51][4]

    :93, 98 Present were his sons Beau (whose leg was still in traction from the automobile accident) and Hunter and other family members. [51][4] :93, 98 At 30, he was the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. hist


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