Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in a speech Thursday night that capped off the four-day virtual Democratic National Convention. The following is a profile of Biden.
Born on Nov. 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden was from an Irish Catholic family of four siblings. At the age of 10, he moved to New Castle, Delaware with his family, where his father worked as a car salesman.
Biden received his highest education at the Syracuse University College of Law, and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969 after graduation.
He started his career in the public sector after being elected to the New Castle county council in 1970. Just two years later, he was elected to the U.S. Senate representing Delaware shortly before he turned 30, making him the fifth-youngest U.S. Senator in the country’s history.
While in the Senate between 1973 and 2009, Biden, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Delaware’s history, served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and later as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
His first presidential campaign in 1987 was short-lived as he was accused of plagiarizing a speech of a British politician. He considered joining the game again four years later, but found it impossible for him to raise enough campaign fund.
In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Biden was one of the earliest dropouts from the campaign when he saw a poor supporting rate in the first caucuses in Iowa.
After leaving the primary battleground, Biden was picked by Barack Obama, who ended up winning the presidential nomination, as running mate and ultimately won the vice presidency. He won a second term together with Obama in 2012 and wrapped up an eight-year span in the nation’s second highest office in 2017.
Biden launched his 2020 presidential campaign — his third — in April 2019, yet his road toward nomination was a long and rocky one, a journey that saw him lose the first three states to hold primaries and caucuses before winning the much-needed state of South Carolina thanks to support from African-American voters.
Even after candidates in the once crowded Democratic field dropped out one by one, Biden’s race with his longest-lasting rival, independent senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who caucused with the Democrats, remained tight.
A progressive who described himself as a democratic socialist, Sanders, in a bid to further influence the party platform and rules, decided to continue amassing the delegates — a gauge for determining the nomination — as he announced the suspension of his campaign on April 8. Less than a week later, Biden earned endorsement from Sanders.
Already the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee since Sanders quitted, Biden crossed the threshold necessary for the nomination in June. He was officially designated as Democratic nominee for president on Tuesday.
Biden suffered but eventually overcame stutter during childhood, lost his first wife and infant daughter in a 1972 car incident that also seriously injured his two sons, one of whom — Beau Biden — died in 2015 of brain cancer aged 46. He married his second wife Jill Biden in 1977.