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World Joe Biden: From tragedy to verge of triumph in storied political career

06:30  29 october  2020
06:30  29 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Want to learn more about Joe Biden ? Joe 's Story. From Scranton to Wilmington to the White House—with thousands of train rides in between. Weeks later, tragedy strikes the Biden family when Neilia and Naomi are killed and Hunter and Beau are critically injured in an auto accident.

Joe Biden briefly worked as an attorney before turning to politics . He became the fifth-youngest U.S. senator in history as well as Delaware's longest-serving senator. His 2008 presidential campaign never gained momentum, but Democratic nominee Barack Obama selected him as his running mate

He has suffered profound personal tragedy and seen his earlier political ambitions thwarted, but veteran Democrat Joe Biden hopes his pledge to unify Americans will deliver him the presidency after nearly half a century in Washington.

Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Beau Biden are posing for a picture: Then-vice president Joe Biden, pictured with his sons Hunter (L) and Beau (R) during the 2009 inaugural parade of president Barack Obama © DAVID MCNEW Then-vice president Joe Biden, pictured with his sons Hunter (L) and Beau (R) during the 2009 inaugural parade of president Barack Obama a group of people standing and talking on the phone: Biden's campaigning was scaled down in 2020, and he traded loud and crowded rallies for more smaller affairs, like this tour of an aluminum plant in Manitowoc, in swing state Wisconsin, on September 21 © JIM WATSON Biden's campaigning was scaled down in 2020, and he traded loud and crowded rallies for more smaller affairs, like this tour of an aluminum plant in Manitowoc, in swing state Wisconsin, on September 21

Rarely has the profile of opposing presidential nominees differed so sharply as in the 2020 race, which pits the empathetic Biden, with decades of leadership and a blue-collar upbringing, against brawling President Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman who insists he remains the outsider.

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Mr. Biden served as vice president in the Obama administration during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and health care remains a top priority for Mr. Biden , who served for decades in the Senate, firmly believes in the value of bipartisanship and insists on extending overtures to Republicans even in

Joseph R. Biden Jr. outside the Capitol in 1974, when he was a senator from Delaware. During the course of his 36-year Senate career , school desegregation, more than any other issue with the possible exception of crime, crystallized the political and civil rights crosscurrents swirling around Mr. Biden .

Joe Biden, Donald Trump are posing for a picture: Biden (left) offers calm and reassurance in the face of President Donald Trump's bombast © JIM WATSON Biden (left) offers calm and reassurance in the face of President Donald Trump's bombast

But in his decades-long White House quest -- Biden has run twice before -- the optimist from Delaware maintains he can shift the tone in America from anger and suspicion to dignity and respect.

"The divisions in our nation are getting wider... and our wounds are getting deeper," Biden said in a Tuesday speech in Georgia.

"Have we passed the point of no return? Has the heart of this nation turned to stone?" he asked. "I don't think so, I refuse to believe it. I know this country, I know our people, and I know we can unite and heal this nation."

At 77 and leading in the polls just days ahead of the November 3 vote, Biden is on the cusp of becoming America's oldest ever president.

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The mask slips: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and US President Donald Trump © REUTERS/Leah Millis; REUTERS/Jim Bourg. A far more civil debate saw Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden make multiple unforced errors, doubling down on 'Russiagate' and the Obama

Joe Biden just pulled off the biggest, fastest and most unexpected comeback in modern political Biden shattered all expectations by racking up nine primary wins on Tuesday and then Maine, which He is someone who endured through multiple personal tragedies and political reversals, always

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: Democrat Joe Biden's wife Jill Biden has consistently hit the campaign trail in 2020 to help her husband's presidential bid © Olivier DOULIERY Democrat Joe Biden's wife Jill Biden has consistently hit the campaign trail in 2020 to help her husband's presidential bid

He would inherit a coronavirus pandemic that shows no signs of abating and an office he believes has had its credibility shattered by the "liar" Trump.

A loss to the unpopular president, the challenger said in a candid moment recently, would mean Biden is a "lousy" candidate -- and would certainly lower the curtain on a prolific if ultimately unfulfilling political career.

But Biden is no shrinking violet. He has relentlessly hammered away at Trump's handling of the pandemic and, in 2018, told students at a Florida university that he would "beat the hell out of him" if the two men were in high school.

Joe Biden standing in front of a flag: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has traded traditional rallies for smaller and less frequent appearances as he balances the coronavirus pandemic with campaigning against President Donald Trump © JIM WATSON Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has traded traditional rallies for smaller and less frequent appearances as he balances the coronavirus pandemic with campaigning against President Donald Trump

- Enduring compassion -

Joe Biden -- a life's work in Washington

  Joe Biden -- a life's work in Washington A stalwart of American political life for decades, Joe Biden, 77, has experienced many ups and downs during his long career in Washington, which he hopes to cap by winning the White House on November 3. - Senate at 30 - Active in local politics in Delaware, Biden scored a major surprise aged just 30 when he ousted a well-established Republican senator in the 1972 election. Just few weeks later, Biden's wife and daughter died in a car accident. He thought of resigning to take care of his injured sons Beau and Hunter, but he was persuaded to stay on and was sworn in on January 5, 1973.He was reelected to the upper house of Congress continuously until 2008.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden 's remark that his party has created “the most extensive voter fraud organization” has reinforced the former VP’s “gaffe-machine” status, giving the Rigged Election?” Trump tweeted, reposting the viral clip. What a terrible thing for Biden to say!

Joe Biden withdrew from the 1988 presidential race after admitting to plagiarism and exaggeration of his academic record. Biden ’s aides said the omission was “an oversight” and sought to squelch the controversy, but it only worsened as other alleged instances of plagiarism came to light.

Biden hit the national stage at just 29, with a surprise US Senate win in Delaware in 1972.

But just one month later, tragedy struck: his wife Neilia and their one-year-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash as they were Christmas shopping.

Biden's two sons were severely injured but survived, only for the eldest, Beau, to succumb to cancer in 2015. The tragedies help nourish the empathy that shines through in Biden's interactions with everyday Americans.

a man standing in front of a building: Biden often prays at St. Joseph on the Brandywine church in Wilmington, where members of his family are buried including son Beau Biden © CHIP SOMODEVILLA Biden often prays at St. Joseph on the Brandywine church in Wilmington, where members of his family are buried including son Beau Biden

His retail politicking skills are peerless: he can flash his million-watt smile at college students, commiserate with unemployed Rust Belt machinists, or deliver a fiery admonishment of rivals.

That personable, gregarious propensity has been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, which brought in-person campaigning to a halt in March and has prompted a more cautious Biden on the trail.

He no longer cuts the same figure he did during his eight years as Barack Obama's vice president. Though the dazzling smile remains, Biden's gait is more delicate and his fine white hair thinned.

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Senator Joseph Biden addresses a Washington press conference on the Salt II arms control treaty Contented at home, Biden ’s career in the Senate blossomed and he began a long tenure on the Panetta said: “It’s given his speeches not so much a political edge as an emotional edge because he

23, 1987, Joe Biden stood before a crowd of reporters and ended his first presidential campaign amid questions about a value he’d worked hard to In one instance, a sentence on carbon capture from Biden ’s climate plan is nearly identical to wording used by a group called the Carbon Capture Coalition.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Barack Obama surprised his vice president Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2017 © NICHOLAS KAMM President Barack Obama surprised his vice president Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2017

Opponents, and even some Democrats, wondered whether Biden, garrulous and gaffe-prone, would stumble in his long campaign against Trump.

The 74-year-old president regularly calls him "Sleepy Joe" and accuses him of diminished mental acuity.

But Biden has shrugged off the attacks, and in a flash of frustration with the relentlessly interrupting Trump during their first debate, at one point told the president to "shut up."

Elected one of the youngest senators ever, he spent more than three decades in the upper chamber before serving eight years a Barack Obama's deputy.

Biden's message is built largely on his association with the still-popular Obama and on his ability to do business with the many world leaders that his former boss sent him to meet ("I know these guys," he often reminds people).

He offers moderate politics in a divisive time, but he has pledged to take progressive action as president, on climate change, racial injustice and student debt relief.

- Historic comeback -


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Biden almost did not make it this far. Despite being the favorite of the Democratic establishment, he was deemed by some to be too old or too centrist.

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His campaign looked like it was headed for disaster after disappointing primary losses to the fiery Bernie Sanders early this year.

But Biden came roaring back in South Carolina's primary on the strength of overwhelming backing from African-American voters, a crucial base of Democratic support.

Clinching the nomination marked a sharp contrast to his 1988 flameout, when he quit in disgrace after being caught plagiarizing a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock.

In 2008 he hardly fared better, dropping out after mustering less than one percent of the vote in Iowa's caucuses.

That year he was ultimately picked as running mate by Obama, who dubbed him "America's happy warrior."

After their victory Obama quickly assigned Biden to oversee the economic recovery during the last recession.

The two men differed over Afghanistan at the front end of Obama's first term, with Biden opposing a 30,000-troop "surge."

As a senator for more than 30 years, Biden was known to forge unlikely alliances -- and, like Trump, he developed a lack of fidelity to script.

He faced a reckoning among Democrats -- including Kamala Harris, who would become his running mate -- for associating with known segregationists in the Senate and, in the midst of 1970s desegregation, for opposing "busing" policies aimed at transporting Black children to predominantly white schools.

He also caught flak for helping draft a 1994 crime bill which many Democrats believe drove up incarcerations, disproportionately affecting African Americans. Biden recently called the push a "mistake."

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Other Senate episodes also threatened to spoil his presidential campaign: his 2003 vote for the Iraq war, and his chairmanship of controversial hearings in 1991 in which Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

Last year he faced a storm over his own notoriously tactile approach with female voters that could suggest a man out of step with his modernizing party.

He apologized, and promised to be more "mindful" of women's personal space.

Biden relays the heart-wrenching details of his family stories so often that, despite his obvious grief, they have become part of a political brand.

The 1972 accident left his sons Beau, four, and Hunter, two, badly injured, and the 30-year-old Biden was sworn in beside their hospital beds.

Biden met his second wife, teacher Jill Jacobs, in 1975 and they married two years later. They have a daughter, Ashley.

Both boys recovered from their injuries and Beau followed his father into politics, becoming attorney general of Delaware, but the Democratic rising star died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46.

- 'Get back up' -

Lawyer and lobbyist Hunter Biden has had a different trajectory.

He received a lucrative salary serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company accused of corruption while his father was vice president.

Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens led to the president's impeachment last December by the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives, but he was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.

Hunter was not personally accused of any criminal wrongdoing, but Trump hasn't let the issue die.

He repeatedly insists the Bidens are a "crime family" getting rich off of corruption, but the accusations are of dubious origin and polling suggests they have not stuck with American voters.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr was born November 20, 1942 and raised in the Rust Belt town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in an Irish-Catholic family.

Agony and ecstasy as America reacts to Biden's win

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His father was a car salesman, but when the city went through tough times in the 1950s and he lost his job, he moved the family to neighboring Delaware when Joe Biden was 10.

"My dad always said, 'Champ, when you get knocked down, you get back up,'" Biden says.

He made Delaware his political domain. As a young man he served as a lifeguard in a majority-Black neighborhood, an experience he said sharpened his awareness of systemic inequalities and strengthened his political interest.

Biden studied at the University of Delaware and the Syracuse University law school, and has expressed pride that he is not a product of the elite Ivy League.

He touts his working-class roots and recalls being hampered as a child by a stutter so bad he was cruelly nicknamed "Dash."

But he overcame the condition, and on the campaign trail has spoken about how he still counsels youngsters who stutter.

Biden often points to Jill, 69, as a powerful asset for his campaign, and recalled recently how she took over as mother to her husband's two boys.

"She put us back together," Biden has said.

- 'Proud of me?' -

"It never goes away," Biden said of the pain that lives within him since losing Beau. The tragedy prevented him from launching a presidential bid in 2016.

Even today, he often stops to greet firefighters, recalling that it was they who saved his boys.

They saved Biden too. In 1988 firefighters rushed him to hospital after an aneurysm.

Biden's condition was so dire that a priest was called to give him last rites.

Nearly every Sunday Biden prays at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, a Catholic church in his affluent Wilmington neighborhood.

There in the cemetery rest his parents, his first wife and daughter -- and his son Beau, under a tombstone decorated with small American flags.

In January Biden confided about Beau and his undeniable influence: "Every morning I get up... and I think to myself, 'Is he proud of me?'"

mlm/ft

Agony and ecstasy as America reacts to Biden's win .
Cheers, honking and dancing erupt in major cities, as the nation comes to terms with the result.Spontaneous celebrations erupted in major cities after media outlets announced Mr Biden's victory over President Donald Trump on Saturday.

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