Sunday, November 16, 2008


Joe Biden is a rare mix. A leader who has worked for decades in Washington, but has never lived there. An expert on foreign policy, whose heart and values are firmly rooted in the middle class. He has stared down dictators, and spoken for America's cops and firefighters. He is uniquely suited to serve as Barack Obama’s partner in the urgent mission to bring about the change America needs to put our country back on track.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., age 65, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on November 20, 1942, to Joseph Sr. and Jean Biden, the oldest of four. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware. Biden attended parochial school at St. Helena’s School in Wilmington and the Archmere Academy in Claymont. Public service has always been an important part of Biden family life -- one of Joe's great grandfathers served as a Pennsylvania state senator.

After graduating from the University of Delaware in 1965 and from law school at Syracuse University in 1968, Biden moved back to the Wilmington area and set up his own law firm. He practiced law until 1972.

In 1970, Biden -- at age 27 -- ran for New Castle County Council and won in a Republican district. At age 29, he launched an improbable bid to unseat two-term Republican U.S. Sen. J. Caleb Boggs. With very little help from the state establishment, and with his sister as his campaign manager, Biden defeated Boggs by 3,162 votes.

Just weeks after the election, Biden's wife, Neilia, and their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed and their two young sons critically injured in an auto accident. Biden was sworn in at his son's hospital bedside and began commuting to Washington every day by train, a practice he has maintained throughout his career in the Senate.

In 1977, Biden married Jill Jacobs. Jill Biden, who holds a Ph.D. in education, has been an educator for over two decades in Delaware's schools. Currently she is a professor at Delaware Technical Community College.

Senator Biden has three children: Beau, Hunter, and Ashley. Beau currently serves as Delaware's Attorney General -- and as a captain in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard, he deployed to Iraq in October. Ashley is a social worker and Hunter is an attorney. Senator Biden also has five grandchildren: Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta Mabel, Natalie, and Robert Hunter.

In 1988, Biden suffered a cranial aneurysm and nearly died. He recovered by early 1989 after two surgeries and has enjoyed good health since then.

In addition to serving as U.S. Senator, Biden has been an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law since 1991, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law.

Key Career Accomplishments
Biden became ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee in 1997 and served as chairman of the committee from 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to the present. He served as chairman or ranking member of the Judiciary Committee for sixteen years. He is recognized as one of the nation's leading authorities on foreign policy, as well as one of its most influential voices on terrorism, drug policy, crime, and issues important to women. He has been a tireless advocate for working families and has reached across the aisle to work with Republicans on tackling some of the greatest challenges facing Americans.

Like Barack Obama, Biden has been an outspoken critic of George W. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.

Biden's leadership was instrumental in helping to bring stability and peace to the Balkans. In 1999, Biden wrote a resolution endorsing the air war in Kosovo that was passed by the Senate.

Biden has been a leader of the congressional effort to end genocide in Darfur.
In the late 1990s, Biden led the effort in the Senate to bring Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO and to pass the Chemical Weapons Treaty.

Biden has been instrumental in crafting almost every major piece of crime legislation over the past two decades. His Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 put more than 100,000 police officers on America's streets and has been credited with bringing crime rates down to the lowest point in a generation.

Biden authored and passed the landmark Violence Against Women Act, the strongest legislation to date that criminalizes domestic violence and holds batterers accountable.

Biden was a strong supporter of the Family and Medical Leave Act, cracked down on deadbeat dads, and has been a consistent champion for equal pay.
Biden was one of the first to introduce legislation to address global warming and he co-sponsored the most aggressive pieces of climate change legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Biden is a champion on the issue of making college more affordable by using the tax code to reduce costs.

Biden was successful in passing a provision that prevents budget cuts to military facilities while the nation is at war, an effor that shored up one of his key priorities -- top-notch medical treatment for all veterans in a fully-funded VA health care system.

Senator Biden has a proven record of bringing people together to get things done. From global warming to combating violence against women to confronting the challenges of the dangerous world in which we live, Joe Biden has fought every day over the course of his life in public service to improve the lives of middle class families.


Dr. Jill Tracy Biden (née Jacobs) was raised in Willow Grove, PA. Jill is the oldest of five sisters, and the daughter of Bonny, a stay-at-home mom, and Donald, a banker. Both her parents are deceased.

Jill and Joe met when she was a student at the University of Delaware, an introduction arranged by Joe's brother. When Joe called to ask her out, Jill made sure to mention she was not impressed with his title and that he should feel lucky that she had voted for him. At the time, Joe had two sons, Beau and Hunter.

The couple dated for two years, and, on June 17, 1977, they were married at the United Nations chapel in New York City. Jill has said that when she married Joe, she knew she was marrying the whole family, including his two sons. Beau and Hunter joined the couple on their honeymoon.

In 1981, Joe and Jill had a daughter, Ashley. All of the children are now grown and five grandchildren -- Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, and Hunter Biden -- have been added to the family. Beau is the Attorney General of the State of Delaware and a captain in the Delaware National Guard. Hunter is a lawyer; and Ashley is employed as a social worker.

Jill is in her 15th year at Delaware Technical Community College, where she teaches English composition. She also spent 13 years in the public schools, where she was a Reading specialist and English teacher as well as a part-time teacher with the Rockford Psychiatric Hospital Adolescent Program.

While working full-time and raising a family, Jill earned two masters degrees: a Master's degree in English from Villanova University (1987) and a Master's degree in reading from West Chester University (1981). And in January 2007, Jill earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware. Her dissertation focused on how to retain students in community colleges.

Jill has always been active and engaged in the issues that matter to her most, like health care. Jill had four friends with breast cancer, one of whom died. She thought that as an educator there was something she could do. In 1993, Jill started the Biden Breast Health Initiative, which in the past 15 years has educated more than 7,000 ninth-through-twelfth grade girls in Delaware about proper breast health.

Jill is also involved with Delaware Boots on the Ground, an organization that helps military families whose needs are not being met by existing programs or who have fallen through the cracks. This summer, she also started a program called Book Buddies to get kids reading at an early age. The program helps low-income children and raises money to buy books.

Jill makes sure to keep active, running 5 miles 5 days a week. She also ran in the Marine Corps Marathon.