From presidential hopeful to Obama’s vice president pick
Sen. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Nov. 20, 1942, to Joseph Biden Sr. and Jean Biden. He was the oldest of four children. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware.
After graduating from the University of Delaware in 1965 and from law school at Syracuse University in 1968, Biden moved back to the Wilmington, Delaware area and set up his own law firm. He practiced law until 1972.
In 1970, Biden ran for a seat on the New Castle County Council and won in a Republican district. In 1972, he was able to unseat two-term Republican U.S. Sen. J. Caleb Boggs by just 3,162 votes.
Shortly after the election, Biden’s wife, Neilia, and their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in an auto accident. Their two young sons were critically injured in the accident. Biden was sworn in at his son’s hospital bedside.
In 1977, Biden married Jill Jacobs. Jill Biden has been an educator for more than two decades in Delaware’s schools. Currently she is a professor at Delaware Technical Community College. Together, they have a daughter named Ashley. Beau serves as Delaware’s Attorney General, a captain in the Delaware National Guard, and will be deployed to Iraq this October. Ashley is a social worker, and Hunter is an attorney. The senator 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 a 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.
In a foreboding speech on Sept. 10, 2001, Biden criticized the Bush administration’s focus on missile defense, warning that it diverted attention from more likely threats that would “lie in the belly of a plane.” Despite this, Biden voted in favor of the Iraqi invasion in 2002.
After the release of the 9/11 Commission’s report detailing recommendations on securing U.S. ports, chemical plants, and other infrastructure, Biden has supported the implementation of all their recommendations.
As a long-standing member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden has been vocal advocate of crime and drug policy, and has played a prominent role in crafting major crime legislation over the past two decades. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which he sponsored, helped put more than 100,000 police officers on the street and increased federal support for criminal justice prevention and rehabilitation. The 2007 Biden Crime Bill addressed crimes such as computer hacking and online child exploitation. Biden is also the co-chair of the International Narcotics Control Caucus.
Along with his work on U.S.-foreign relations, Biden helped create the Drug Free Communities Support Program which offers funds to parents, teachers, police, and other local leaders working to prevent drug use in their communities. He has also penned legislation that