From Scranton, Pa., Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was the sixth youngest person elected to the United States Senate at age 29. Two weeks after the election, his wife Neila and daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident.
Biden attended high school in Claymont, Del. and was considered a valuable player as a wide receiver for the football team. He helped the team become undefeated by his senior year.
He attended undergraduate school at the University of Delaware, spending more time on sports, social life and his girlfriend then cramming for classes. With a double major in political science and history, he ranked 506 out of 688 in his graduating class.
Biden then continued his education at the Syracuse Law School, receiving his Juris Doctor. During his first year, he failed a course after being accused of plagiarizing for an assignment although he said it was only a mistake from his lack of knowledge on proper citations.
Biden first practiced law as a public defender in Wilmington, Del. He then started his own firm, Biden and Walsh. While working at his firm, he was appointed for the New Castle County Council.
He successfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1972 with little money for campaigning and with his sister, Valerie Biden, managing his Senate and future campaigns. He was a member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years and dealt with issues on criminal justice, drug policy and civil liberties.
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden focused his attention on issues related to terrorism, post-Cold War Europe and the Middle East. Arms control was his first task during his first 10 years of being in the Senate.
Throughout his political career, important issues have arisen in society, including same-sex marriage. Biden has voted in favor of it and said homosexuals deserve equal treatment. He said same-sex couples should be able to have life insurance policies, joint ownership of property, visitation rights in hospitals and more. He also voted for hate crime legislation to include offenses involving the victim’s sexual orientation.
Biden has been practicing Catholicism his whole life. His religious affiliation has not prevented him from a pro-choice voting record. His stance for abortion is directed towards the woman’s decision between her and her doctor.
“My religion defines who I am,” Biden said in the 2012 vice presidential debate. “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can’t control their body.”
As far as education, Biden is pro teacher unions, supports the constitutional right to voluntary prayer and abstinence-only sex education. He was in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act until the program was not funding the education system enough.
Regarding gun control, Biden supports banning automatic rifles and to end the “gun show loophole,” where people can buy a gun more easily at gun shows than at a gun store.
Biden supports federal funding for health care, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The act is aimed at reducing costs of health care and increasing the coverage rate by helping to lessen the number of uninsured citizens.
Dealing with foreign policy issues with America’s ally Israel, Biden sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 that supports a two-state solution towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2009 at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he said that Israel has to work on a two-state solution and to allow Palestinians freedom of movement.
While Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, holds the position that the U.S. needs to do something soon to stop Iran’s nuclear program, Biden is looking at the U.S. as the problem, not Iran.
“There was virtually no international pressure on Iran,” Biden said in the Rabbinical Assembly’s annual convention in Atlanta. “We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe.”
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