Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Joseph Biden

(1942 - )

Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. is the 47th Vice President of the United States in the administration of President Barack Obama. He was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania and is the oldest of four siblings. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965 and Syracuse Law School in 1968 and set up his own law firm in the Wilmington area where he practiced until 1972. In 1970, Biden ran for New Castle County Council and won in a Republican district. At age 29, he launched an improbable bid to unseat two-term Republican U.S. Sen. J. Caleb Boggs. With very little help from the state establishment, and with his sister as his campaign manager, Biden defeated Boggs by 3,162 votes to become one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate.

Just weeks after the election, tragedy struck the Biden family, when Biden's wife, Neilia, and their 1-year old daughter, Naomi, were killed and their two young sons critically injured in an auto accident. Biden was sworn in at his sons' hospital bedside and began commuting to Washington, D.C. every day by train, a practice he maintained throughout his career in the Senate.

In 1977, Biden married Jill Jacobs. Jill Biden, who holds a Ph.D. in Education, has been an educator for over two decades in Delaware's schools and is currently a professor at Delaware Technical Community College. Vice President Biden has three children: Beau, Hunter, and Ashley. Beau serves as Delaware's Attorney General and is currently deployed to Iraq as a Captain in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard. Ashley is a social worker and Hunter is an attorney. Vice President Biden has five grandchildren: Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta Mabel ("Maisy"), 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.

As a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, Biden has been a leader on some of our nation's most important domestic and international challenges. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, Biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues including the landmark 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1997, Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. He has been at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.

As Vice President of the United States in the Barack Obama Administration since 2008, Biden has continued his leadership on crucial issues facing the U.S. He implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is helping rebuild our economy and lay the groundwork for a sustainable economic future. Additionally, Vice President Biden continues to raise the living standards of middle class Americans across the country, and has focused on the issues of college affordability and American manufacturing growth, key priorities of the Administration.

In Foreign affairs, Vice President Biden helped the Senate approve the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and significant new funding to maintain our nuclear laboratories. He also played a key role in ending the war in Iraq responsibly and traveled to Iraq eight times since being elected.

He has represented the United States in every region of the world, advancing unprecedented U.S. support for Israel’s security, securing approval in Europe for the Administration’s more effective approach to missile defense, working with Latin American leaders to combat drug trafficking and international crime and building relations with key leaders in Africa. He has traveled to more than two dozen countries, including Germany, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Spain, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Finland, Russia, Moldova, Italy, China, Mongolia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Mexico and Honduras.

For Biden's views and voting record on Middle East related issues, CLICK HERE.

Sources: Obama '08; The White House