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Joe Biden (DE)

Vice President Joe Biden (DE) with wife Jill and schoolchildren

Age on Jan. 20, 2013: 70

Full name: Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.

Family: Wife Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden. Four children (one deceased), five grandchildren. Son Beau is Attorney General of Delaware and a Captain serving in the JAG Corps of the Delaware Army National Guard.

Education: B.A. in history and political science, University of Delaware, 1965; J.D., Syracuse University College of Law, 1968.

Career highlights: Attorney in private practice, 1968-72; member, New Castle County Council, 1970-2; Senator from Delaware, 1973-2009, chairman, Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees; unsuccessful candidate for Democratic presidential nomination, 1988; adjunct professor, Widener University School of Law, 1991-2008; author, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, 2007, unsuccessful candidate for Democratic presidential nomination, Democratic vice presidential nominee, 2008, Vice President of the United States, 2009-present.

Political pluses and minuses: Biden comes from a very small and reliably Democratic state, adding no geographic balance or electoral strength in the traditional sense to the Democratic ticket, aside from some native son appeal in Pennsylvania. However, geography did not matter as much as in the past this year, as both parties completely ignored the South in choosing their tickets. He twice unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination, but never come close to winning it. He announced his 2008 presidential candidacy Jan. 31, 2007, and delivered some wry, cutting one-liners which represented the bulk of his campaign's achievements. Obama announced him as his choice for vice president Aug. 23, 2008. He seemed to help in his native state of Pennsylvania and with working class and Catholic voters in the general election. He is our first Catholic vice president as well as the first vice president from the first state. He won the lone presidential debate against the disastrous Republican vice presidential nominee and was effective on the stump. He became the Vice President-Elect on Nov. 4, 2008 with an electoral vote landslide, with the most votes of any vice presidential candidate in American history and as part of the first Democratic presidential ticket to win a majority of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale in 1976. He took the oath of office as the 47th Vice President of the United States Jan. 20, 2009. Since then, Biden seems to have been an able, often influential partner in leadership.

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