Joe Biden, 77, has been an integral part of American political life for decades and has seen many ups and downs during his long career in Washington. But in the end, he won the biggest award of all – the presidency – after ousting President Donald Trump.
Senate at 30
Biden, who was active in local politics in Delaware, had a big surprise when he was just 30 years old when he ousted an established Republican senator in 1972.
Just a few weeks later, Biden’s wife and daughter died in a car accident. He contemplated resigning to care for his injured sons, Beau and Hunter, but was convinced to move on and was sworn in on January 5, 1973.
He was continuously re-elected to the House of Lords of Congress until 2008.
In the 1970s he opposed a government policy known as “busing” that organized buses to transport black children to mostly white schools to encourage co-education.
Senator Kamala Harris attacked him for his demeanor during this year’s Democratic main race. Even so, he chose her as his running mate.
In 1987, Biden entered the White House race for the first time, driven by his image as a dashing man in his forties and a favorite among many in his party.
But he crashed in humiliating style after making a series of exaggerations about his past and a scandal over plagiarized passages in his campaign speeches.
Women and the law
As chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden oversaw the Supreme Court confirmation process of Judge Clarence Thomas in 1991 when allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against the candidate.
Biden organized a television hearing for Thomas’ accuser Anita Hill, which turned into a fiasco. Hill, a young law professor, was grilled in graphic detail by an all-white, all-male chalkboard in scenes that shocked many observers.
Biden later apologized. Three years later, he made some progress in overseeing the passage of the law against violence against women. He has described it as his “proudest legislative achievement”.
Biden was also a key architect in broader criminal justice reforms that have generated much criticism.
At a time when crime ravaged sections of American society, legislation under Bill Clinton’s presidency was a hard-line consensus among rival political parties.
The 1994 “Crime Act” is believed by some to be responsible for the explosion in US prison numbers and the over-representation of African Americans in prison.
The negative impact was partly due to the severe punishment of crack users, a drug that is more commonly used in poor areas.
“It was a mistake,” Biden admitted during his last debate with Donald Trump.
War in Iraq
When Biden served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in 2002, he voted to support the war in Iraq after holding hearings from numerous witnesses who wrongly suggested that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed massive weapons of destruction.
He has said again that, in hindsight, his demeanor was a mistake.
Obama’s number two
Biden was selected by Barack Obama as his vice presidential candidate and joined the White House with him in January 2009 amid the global financial crisis.
Biden secured the adoption of a huge $ 800 billion stimulus package by Congress that the President entrusted to him.
The plan was largely seen as a success as the US economy recovered.
Biden may run for the presidency in 2016, but for the death of his older son Beau from a brain tumor. Obama and Biden have remained close allies.
White House commandment
In 2019, he started his campaign to beat Donald Trump and finally win the White House.
After a difficult start, he returned to victory in the Democratic primary, fueled by his support among African Americans, and became the party’s presidential candidate. In the end, he denied Trump a second term after a campaign like no other held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)