Will Joe Biden run for President for the third time in 2016? He’s leaving the door open. In 2008, after two failed Presidential campaign attempts, Biden told Barack Obama that he was never going to run for President again. In June, 2009, however, during an interview on “Meet the Press,” Biden said he wouldn’t rule it out. If he runs, he will have a strong advantage as the sitting Vice President (assuming, of course, that Obama wins in 2012). Fourteen former Vice Presidents have gone on to become President
Biden’s biggest disadvantage is likely to be his age. If sworn in in 2017, he will be seventy-four years old. That’s two years older than John McCain would have been, had he won – and McCain’s age was clearly an issue in his campaign. Ronald Reagan, who was the oldest President, was a comparatively youthful 69 on his inauguration day.
Another weakness for Biden may be his famous tendency to put his foot in his mouth. He seems to mean well, but too often he ends up speaking without thinking first and having to apologize later.
His strong points are his reputation for empathy, his ability to work well with some Republicans, his long experience as a leader in Congress, the depth of his knowledge and the strength of his relationships, and his life story, which demonstrates a heart-rending ability to overcome adversity. His background as a working-class Catholic from Pennsylvania should serve him well. He’s a salt-of-the-earth type of guy, and many voters will find it easy and pleasant to identify with him.
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born on November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The family moved to Delaware in 1953. Biden attended parochial school, the University of Delaware, and Syracuse Law School. After graduating, he set up his own law firm.
He soon turned to politics. He won his first race, for a County Council seat, when he was only 27. Two years later, Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate – one of the youngest people ever elected to that body.
Only weeks after he was elected Senator, his first wife and their 13-month-old daughter were killed in a car accident. Their two young sons were critically injured, and Biden was at his sons’ bedside when he was sworn into the Senate.
Biden was the Senator for Delaware for 36 years. For 17 of those years he was in leadership roles on the Senate Judiciary Committee. When Obama invited Biden to be his running mate, Biden was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and at first he wasn’t sure whether being Vice President would be a better job.
In the Senate, he was known for his strong working relationships. Among his many legislative initiatives, he’s perhaps best known for championing the Crime Bill of 1994 and the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of the least wealthy Senators, although that’s relative, as he had a family income of over $300,000 in 2007. He has been a strong Vice-President, taking an active role, especially in supporting Obama’s economic stimulus reforms.
He married Jill Jacobs in 1977. She has a doctorate in education and teaches in a community college. He has three children and five grandchildren.
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White House biography
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CBS Political Hotsheet: Is Biden Looking Ahead to 2016?
The New Yorker: Biden’s Brief
Organizing for America: Meet Joe Biden