Joe Biden keeps a low profile, but is an outspoken man among men, and an American, with an American background. In Newport, New Hampshire on Friday, the vice president and candidate for the vice presidency chose to pay tribute to the Newport High and Middle School cheerleaders. According to his football coach at highly regarded Archmere Academy in Delaware, Biden was, “One of the best pass receivers I had in 16 years.” The students and faculty in Newport had gathered to hear Biden speak, and they were not disappointed. “Have you ever watched the cheerleading championships?” He asked, “I’m serious! Guess what; the cheerleaders in college are the best athletes in college! They are amazing!” Biden, who spoke with a football in hand, nodded to the boys teams present, and conceded, “None of it works without you guys!” Biden continued his love of football in college, where he played for the University of Delaware.
With the presidential elections coming in November, and the coming debate with Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, now seems a good time to see what we know about the vice president. Vice President Biden served in the United States Senate from 1973 until assuming the vice presidency in 2009. He is renowned for his expertise in foreign policy, having served as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations for several years. He may well have been the dominant figure, under the president, in working with post-war Iraq. He has been quietly active in diplomatic dialogue with Russia, In START strategic arms treaties and limitation, and he worked with NATO to include the Soviet Nations. Earlier, he opposed the First Gulf War, and strongly opposed George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq war. Biden has successfully pushed for tougher crime laws, and in 1994 he sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. He was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and played a major role in seating Robert Bork on the high court.
It hasn’t been easy for the vice president. While attending the University of Delaware, where he studied history and political science, he met and fell in love with a Syracuse University student, Neilia Hunter. Soon after, he was accepted into the Syracuse Law School, and following graduation, He and Ms. Hunter married in 1966. Six years later, the Delaware Democrats prodded Biden to run for the Senate. He won that race in November, becoming the fifth youngest person elected to the Senate. Just weeks following that victory, a week before Christmas, Neilia, and the couple’s three children were involved in a car crash that took the lives of Neilia and their daughter Naomi; both Biden’s sons were severely injured. Joe Biden stood by his decision to serve, and took the oath of office from his sons’ hospital room. He stayed in Delaware as the boys’ recovery progressed, commuting daily to Washington by Amtrak train. He continued the daily commute throughout his long tenure in the Senate.
Biden was remarried in 1977 to Jill Jacobs and their daughter, Ashley, was b orn in 1981. Today, Jill teaches at a Washingtoa D.C. community college, and Biden’s son Beau is the Delaware Attorney General, following service in Iraq as a captain in the Delaware National Guard. Ashley is now a social worker, and Hunter, an attorney.
In preparation for the presidential election of 2008, Barack Obama chose Joe Biden (formally, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.) as his running mate. Biden’s working class appeal helped clinch that electoral campaign victory.
In May of this year, Biden addressed the important issue of administration policy toward Israel, and the Israeli fears that Iran may develop nuclear missile capacity. He chose his words carefully, saying that the United States, “Would not stand in the way of an Israeli strike against Iran if that possibility became a mandate. The United States policy under President Obama is not one of containment.”
Although an expert in U.S. foreign policy, Biden also has been active in economic policy-making. He implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to rebuild the post-Bush economy and to lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. He has worked to raise the quality of life for the middle class, and to assure that those intent on achieving a college education are able to do so. Further, the vice president has worked to promote American manufacturing growth and development.
Biden recently raised his fist before a cheering crowd of voters, and said, in regard to GOP ambition to repeal the Obama administration’s Wall Street reforms, that the Republicans, “Will put you back in chains!” In view of the many African-Americans in the audience, his remarks were seen as a threat that the Republicans would turn back the clock, and adversely affect that segment of the population. Later in that speech he talked about the defeat of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. He used courageous phrases, saying the administration and the Navy Seals were, “Healing an unbearable wound — a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart.” He called the Seals, “The finest warriors in the history of the world.” He said, “If you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth. Folks, Governor Romney didn’t see things that way. When he was asked about Bin Laden in 2007 here’s what he said, he said, ‘It is not worth moving heaven and Earth and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person.’”
Painfully honest, Vice President Biden brings life and hope to America’s middle class, and works daily without fanfare for all Americans.