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Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (/
Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1942, and lived there for ten years before moving with his family to Delaware. He became an attorney in 1969, and was elected to the New Castle County council in 1970. He was first elected to the Senate in 1972, and became the sixth-youngest senator in American history. Biden was reelected to the upper house of Congress six times, and was the fourth most senior senator at the time of his resignation to assume the Vice Presidency in 2009. He was a long-time member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He opposed the Gulf War in 1991, but advocated U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War in 1994 and 1995. He voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002, but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties, and led the legislative efforts for creation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and the Violence Against Women Act. He chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and in 2008, both times dropping out after lackluster showings. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama chose Biden to be his running mate in his successful campaign. As vice president in the Obama administration, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending aimed at counteracting the Great Recession and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq up until the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. His ability to negotiate with congressional Republicans helped the Obama administration pass legislation such as the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which resolved a taxation deadlock, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved that year's debt ceiling crisis, and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending fiscal cliff. Biden was reported to have advised President Obama against approving the 2011 military mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, though he has disputed this. Obama and Biden were re-elected in 2012, defeating Republican businessman Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.
In October 2015, after months of speculation, Biden announced he would not seek the presidency in the 2016 elections. That December, following Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump, Biden said he would not rule out a potential bid for president in 2020. He appeared to reverse course when he said in January 2017 that he would not run, only to seemingly backtrack again just four days later by refusing to rule out a potential bid. As of October 2018, Biden was reported to be actively considering a presidential run, and a CNN poll placed him as the most popular among a list of other potential Democratic presidential candidates, at 50% favorability. President Obama, in one of the final acts of his term in January 2017, awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction. After leaving office, Biden joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Practice.
Last Updated: November 17, 2018