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Joe Biden on Principles & Values

Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)

 


FactCheck: No, only 50% of recent presidents were Ivy league

Joe Biden claimed that he would be the "first person without an Ivy League degree to be elected president," in the context of white privilege. Is that claim true?

We checked, and no, it's not even close to true. Rasmussen College published "U.S. Presidents with College Education: From Learners to Leaders," on 4/24/2013, including the following list. Of recent presidents, the list is split evenly into 8 Ivy Leaguers and 8 not:

Source: OnTheIssues Fact-check on CNN Town Hall 2020 , Sep 17, 2020

Asking if 70+ year old is fit is legitimate question

Q: Trump's campaign has called you "diminished." How do you respond?

BIDEN: Watch me. Mr. President, watch me. Look at us both, what we say, what we do, what we control, what we know, what kind of shape we're in. Come on. I think it's a legitimate question to ask anybody over 70 years old whether or not they're fit and whether they're ready. But I just, only thing I can say to the American people, it's a legitimate question to ask anybody. Watch me.

Q: You have said that you are a transition candidate. Does that mean a one-term president?

BIDEN: I want to make sure when this is over, we have a new Senate, we won back statehouses, we're in a position where we transition to a period of bringing people up to the visibility that they need to get to be able to lead nationally. And that's about raising people up. And that's what I'm about.

Q: So you're leaving open the possibility you'll serve eight years if elected?

BIDEN: Absolutely.

Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention David Muir Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

Four historic crises, all at the same time: a perfect storm

History has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced. Four historic crises. All at the same time. A perfect storm. The worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most compelling call for racial justice since the '60s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change. So, the question for us is simple: Are we ready? I believe we are. We must be.

I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn't support me as I will for those who did. That's the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment. America isn't just a collection of clashing interests of red states or blue states. We're so much bigger than that. We're so much better than that.

Source: Acceptance speech at 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 20, 2020

Trump's lies about me are so bad that TV won't show them

Q: If you're the nominee, is it going to be harder to run against President Trump if he's been acquitted, especially after what he's said about your family?

BIDEN: It's irrelevant. There's no choice but to move [forward with impeachment. Trump] has, in fact, committed impeachable offenses. I understand how these guys are, this Republican Party. They've savaged my surviving son, gone after me, told lies that your networks and others won't even carry on television because they're flat-out lies. I've got to be in a position that I think of the American people. I can't hold a grudge.

Q: President Trump has no problem mocking people, using insulting nicknames, slinging mud and telling lies. Are you prepared for that?

BIDEN: I am prepared for that. Look, I've been the object of his affection now more than anybody else on this stage. I have to be able to not only fight, but also heal. And as president of the United States, that's what I will attempt to do.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Constitutional necessity to impeach; do not re-elect Trump

It was a constitutional necessity for the House to act as it did, and Trump's response to suggest that only half of the American people want to see him thrown out of office. We need to restore the integrity of the presidency. My job is to just go out and make the case why he doesn't deserve to be president of United States for another four years.
Source: December Democratic primary debate on impeaching Trump , Dec 19, 2019

AdWatch: World laughs at Trump for dangerous incompetence

[Biden campaign video showing Trump at NATO summit in London]:

Narrator 1: "World leaders caught on camera laughing about Pres. Trump"

Narrator 2: "Several world leaders mocking Pres. Trump"

Narrator 3: "They're laughing at him"

Pres. Trump [speaking at the United Nations in Sept. 2018]: "My administration has accomplished more than almost any other administration in the history of our country"

[Audience laughs]

President Trump: "Didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK."

Narrator 4: "World leaders mocking and ridiculing him for being completely off-balance."

Joe Biden: "The world sees Trump for what he is--insincere, ill-informed, corrupt, dangerously incompetent, and incapable, in my view, of world leadership. And if we give Donald Trump four more years, we'll have a great deal of difficulty of ever being able to recover America's standing in the world, and our capacity to bring nations together."

Video text: "We need a leader the world respects. Biden for President."

Source: Twitter posting AdWatch on 2020 Democratic primary , Dec 4, 2019

Keep the Justice Department independent of politics

Q: Chants of "Lock Her Up" are still heard at Pres. Trump's rallies today [referring to Hillary Clinton]. Now some opponents of the president are chanting "Lock Him Up."

BIDEN: I don't think it's a good idea that we model ourselves after Trump and say "lock him up." We have to bring this country together.

Q: When Pres. Ford pardoned Pres. Nixon, he said it was to heal the country. What would you do about criminal investigation into Pres. Trump after he leaves office?

BIDEN: I wouldn't direct my Justice Department like this president does. I'd let them make their independent judgment. I would not dictate who should be prosecuted or exonerated. That's not the role of the president. It's "the attorney general of the United States," not "the president's private attorney." If the attorney general's independent judgment was that he violated the law and he should be, in fact, criminally prosecuted, then so be it. But I would not direct it. Follow the law, period.

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on impeaching Trump , Nov 20, 2019

FactCheck:Yes, entered & left Congress as one of the poorest

In challenging President Trump to release his tax returns, Joe Biden said he had released 21 years of his returns and then claimed relative poverty for himself. "I entered as one of the poorest men in Congress, left one of the poorest men in government-- in Congress and as vice president," Biden said.

We looked for outside data on [entering Congress poor] and did not find much, but indications are Biden didn't have much wealth. Roll Call magazine has done wealth rankings, but only for members of Congress and dating back only to 1990. The summary Biden reported outside income in 1973 of $6,050, all from speeches.

On Biden's second claim about leaving as one of the poorest officials in government, Biden's estimated net worth was -$52,493 in 2007. In other words, it appeared that his debts outpaced his assets. Biden again ranked near the bottom: 577 of 581 officials in 2014: his estimated net worth was -$947,987. Since leaving the White House, Biden has reaped millions.

Source: PolitiFact.com FactCheck on 2020 Democratic primary , Oct 30, 2019

Congress had no choice but to move on impeachment

I said from the beginning that if Trump continued to stonewall what Congress is entitled to know about his background, what he did, all the accusations in the Mueller report, they would have no choice but to begin an impeachment proceeding, which gives them more power to seek more information. The fact is that this President has gone so far as to say he will not cooperate in any way at all. They have no choice but to move.
Source: October Democratic Primary debate on impeaching Trump , Oct 15, 2019

Deal with loss by finding purpose in what you do

Q: What did you learn from your most significant professional setback?

BIDEN: I think the most critical setback that can occur to anyone is to lose family. [The philosopher Soren] Kierkegaard said "faith sees best in the dark." Right after I got elected, my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident. And I lost my faith for a while. I came back.

And then later, when my son Beau came home from Iraq with a terminal disease, and a year later, losing him was like losing part of my soul.

But the fact is that I learned that the way you deal with it is you deal with finding purpose, purpose in what you do. We've all been through that, in some form or another. And for me, the way I've dealt with it is finding purpose. And my purpose is to do what I've always tried to do and stay engaged in public policy.

But there's a lot of people been through a lot worse than I have who get up every single morning, put their feet one foot in front of another, without the help I had.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Memory of lost family members will someday bring a smile

I told [a grieving victim of sudden loss of a family member] what I try to tell everybody: There will come a time when you'll go riding by a field that you both loved, or see a flower, or smell the fragrance of his suit when he took it off and hung it in the closet, or you'll hear a song, or you'll look at the way someone walks, and it will all come back. But someday down the line, God knows when, you'll realize it doesn't make you want to cry. It makes you smile. "The time will come when the memory will bring a smile to your lips," I would tell everyone in that situation, "before it brings tears to your eyes." That WILL happen, I assured her. And that is when you know that you've turned a corner.
Source: Promise Me, Dad,by Joe Biden, p. 54 , Nov 14, 2017

Never, never bet against the American people

I remember debating someone in the late '80s about how Japan was going to eat our lunch. How the EU, we could not compete with 384 million people. Come on, man! We used to believe we could do anything. What the hell's happened? Give me empirical evidence that we're not better-positioned than any nation in the world. What I tell every world leader, it's never, never, never, never, never been a good bet to bet against the American people, ordinary people who can do extraordinary things.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 candidates , Sep 21, 2016

1973: Base Nixon's resignation on violations, not politics

The controversy dragged on, until the tape bearing the famous "smoking gun" made clear that Nixon had been aware and privy to payoffs to the Watergate burglars for their silence. Biden joined the chorus of demands that the president resign or be [In the 1973 Watergate hearings], Biden continued to caution his fellow Democrats, and the press, to proceed in a way that would assure Nixon a fair hearing that would not in any way jeopardize the ultimate administration of justice in the matter. trust of that office to such a degree as to warrant his forcible or voluntary removal from that office. His resignation was not the consequence of political pressures, but solely as a consequence of a violation of that high public trust." impeached, stating "For the sake of history, the issue must not be confused. The issue is not how well President Nixon conducted foreign policy over the past five and a half years, but whether the President of the United States violated high public
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.118-119 , Oct 5, 2010

1987: Anti-Bork most organized opposition to Court nominee

As Judiciary Chair in 1987, Biden found himself in the middle of pressures from all these intense anti-Bork foot soldiers, demanding to testify at the confirmation hearings. The political reality was that Biden could not pick & choose without incurring the undying enmity of those who were denied. It had to be none, [or] (virtually) all. No one publically insisted upon testifying. And at the close of the hearings, Bork and his flawed constitutional vision--and not the coalition--remained at center stage The massive compilation came to be known within the coalition as "The Book of Bork" and was widely circulated among members of the Senate, the news media, and every group with an interest in rejecting the nomination. Biden himself underwent intensive pre
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.177-179 , Oct 5, 2010

Most decisive moment: engaging in civil rights movement

Q: What’s the decisive moment in your life that led you to seek the presidency?

A: I worked in the African-American community, as the only white employee for a long while when I was a kid. And I got involved in the civil rights movement. The decisive moment in me life that put me on the broader path was the civil rights movement. When I realized that it does make a difference if you’re engaged. You actually can change people’s lives. You can actually change the state of the nation.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007


Joe Biden on 0

Under Trump we're weaker, sicker, poorer, and more divided

Q: Why should voters elect you President as opposed to President Trump?
Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020


Joe Biden on Campaign Themes

There's nothing we can't do if we do it together

TRUMP: We have to go back to the core values of this country. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place. It's a racist place. And they were teaching people to hate our country. I'm not going to allow that to happen.

BIDEN: The fact is that there is racial insensitivity. It's a little bit like how this guy and his friends look down on so many people. They look down their nose on people like Irish Catholics, like me, who grow up in Scranton. They look down on people who don't have money. They look down on people who are of a different faith. They looked down on people who are a different color. In fact, we're all Americans. The only way we're going to bring this country together is bring everybody together. There's nothing we cannot do, if we do it together. We can take this on and we can defeat racism in American.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020

Bring together a divided nation and a world in disarray

Q: What is your plan to build a bridge with voters from the opposing party

BIDEN: The next President is going to inherit two things, a divided nation and a world in disarray. I was roundly criticized during the primaries: I plan to unite the nation. I'm running as a Democrat, but I'm going to be everyone's President. I'm not going to be a Democratic President. I'm going to be America's President. I have made my whole career based upon bringing people together and bringing the parties together. I've been relatively good at doing that. COOPER

Q: Do you think it's still possible to reach across the aisle?

BIDEN: Yes, I do. A group of Republicans said they're prepared to work with Joe Biden if he's elected. It was recently published, in "The Hill." I'm a Democrat, proud of it, but America's President.

Q: You think you can...

BIDEN: I'm confident I can. I'm confident that with President Trump out of the way, there are going to be Republicans who are ready to get things done.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper , Sep 17, 2020

President's job is to heal; country needs healing

BIDEN: The president's job is to heal. This country needs healing. I'll be a president who tells the truth, who takes responsibility and who in fact invites the opposition to come to the Oval Office and settle problems together. The words of a president matters, no matter who he is. And it's about time we start to hear from a president that it's about uniting the country, bringing together-- it's going to be hard, nothing easy about it.
Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention David Muir Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

Expect government to understand people's problems

BIDEN: My dad used to say, "I don't expect the government to solve my problem, but I expect them to understand my problem." Yes, and I think the background we both come from, although very different. It's all about understanding. Ordinary people, given half a chance, not a joke, half a chance, can do extraordinary things. They've never, ever, ever let the country down, given a chance.
Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention Biden/Harris Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness

[Nomination acceptance speech at DNC]: "The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long," Biden said. "If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness."

"In this dark moment, I believe we're poised to make great progress again. That we can find the light once more," Biden later continued. "This is a battle we will win, and we'll do it together."

Source: C. Linton on CBS News on 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

I believe America ready to face difficult crises

[Excerpts of DNC speech]: "History has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced," he said. "The worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most compelling call for racial justice since the 60s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change. So, the question for us is simple: are we ready? I believe we are."
Source: D.Strauss/The Guardian on 2020 Dem. National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

President's job is to represent all of us, not just his base

[Excerpts of DNC speech]: "While I'll be a Democratic candidate, I'll be an American president," the former vice president said in accepting the presidential nomination. "That's the job of the president -- to represent all of us, not just our base or our party."
Source: ABC News analysis of 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

We have a great purpose: to be a light to the world again

We have a great purpose as a nation: To open the doors of opportunity to all Americans. To save our democracy. To be a light to the world once again. To finally live up to and make real the words written in the sacred documents that founded this nation, that all men and women are created equal. Endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Source: Acceptance speech at 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 20, 2020

I commit to nominating a woman as my Vice President

Q: How will your Cabinet ensure the best advice on issues that affect women's physical and financial health?

Joe Biden: Number one, I commit it that if I'm elected President and have an opportunity to appoint someone, I'll appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court. It's required that they have representation; now it's long overdue. Secondly, my Cabinet & my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I'll pick a woman to be Vice President. There are a number of women who are qualified to be President tomorrow, I would pick a woman to be my Vice President.

Q: Mr. Vice President, just to be clear, you just committed here tonight that your running mate, if you get the nomination will be a woman?

Joe Biden: Yes.

Q: Senator Sanders, will you make that same statement, committ to picking a woman as your running mate?

Bernie Sanders: In all likelihood, I will. For me, it's not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive woman.

Source: 11th Democratic primary debate (Biden-Sanders one-on-one) , Mar 15, 2020

We need to defeat Trump AND gain a Senate majority

Q: You've suggested that if you defeat President Trump, Republicans will start working with Democrats again. But right now, Republicans in Congress are demanding investigations not only of you but also of your son. How would you get those same Republicans to work with you?

BIDEN: Well, look, the next president is going to have to do two things. Defeat Donald Trump, that's number one. And, number two, going to have to be able to go into states like Georgia and North Carolina and other places and get a Senate majority. That's what I'll do. And by the way, I learned something about these impeachment trials. I learned, #1, that Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee. That's pretty clear. Secondly, I found out that Vladimir Putin doesn't want me to be president. But the bottom line is, I think we have to ask ourselves the honest question: Who is most likely to do what needs to be done, produce a Democratic majority in the United States Senate, maintain the House, and beat Trump?

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on impeaching Trump , Nov 20, 2019

With age comes wisdom; and for me, experience on Day One

Q [to SANDERS]: You're 78 years old and you just had a heart attack. How do you reassure Democratic voters that you're up to the stress of the presidency?

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: Let me invite you all to a major rally we're having in Queens, New York. We're going to be mounting a vigorous campaign all over this country. That is how I think I can reassure the American people.

Q [to BIDEN]: If you're elected you will turn 80 during your first term. Former President Jimmy Carter said he undertaken the duties of the presidency at 80. Why are you so sure you can?

BIDEN: Because I've watched it, I know what the job is. One of the reasons I'm running is because of my age and my experience. With it, comes wisdom. We need someone to take office this time around who on day one can stand on the world stage, command the respect of world leaders from Putin to our allies, and know exactly what has to be done to get this country back on track.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Better positioned than any country to own 21st century

One of the things that's the reason why I'm running, we have to restore the soul of this country. We have to unite the country because folks, it's time we stop walking around with our heads down. We are better positioned than any country in the world to own the 21st century. So for God's sake, get up, get up, and remember, this is the United States of America. There's nothing, nothing we're unable to do when we decide we're going to do it. Nothing at all, period.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

A united America can move forward

I think it's important we restore the soul of this nation. This president has ripped it out. It's the only president in our history who has equated racists and white supremacists with ordinary and decent people. He's the only president who has, in fact, engaged and embraced dictators and thumbed their nose at our allies. We have to restore the backbone of America, the poor and hardworking middle class people. There's not a single thing the American people can't do if we're together.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

We are in a battle for the soul of this nation

Biden pointed to the violent clashes in Charlottesville in 2017 at a white nationalist rally [and] Trump's response that "there were some very fine people on both sides."

"With those words, the president of the United assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it," Biden charged. "And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime. We are in the battle for the soul of this nation."

Source: Fox News on 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 25, 2019

Restore America's soul: bigotry is not an American value

[Speaking at U.Penn.], "Carrying swastikas being accompanied by white supremacists and confronted by wholesome Americans who thought this is not who we are, we are not racist, we are not anti-semites, we are not homophobic," he said. "And then the highest leaders, saying there is a moral equivalence, good people in both groups. No president since the civil war has ever uttered anything remotely approaching words like that. It's time to restore America's soul and remind ourselves who we are."
Source: The Philadelphia Tribune on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 20, 2019

Biden Doctrine: Stick up for the little guy

It's easy to spot the seeds of the "Biden Doctrine," which might be something like, "Stick up for the little guy." The little guy might be a kid getting bullied, an out-of-work autoworker, or a victim of domestic violence. This theory has at least one believer: Barack Obama. "When Joe sticks up for the little guy," Obama said, "we hear the young man standing in front of the mirror reciting Yeats or Emerson, studying the muscles in his face, determined to vanquish a debilitating stutter."
Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p. 28 , Oct 24, 2017

Personal connection is key trait of all world leaders

[In 1972 Biden lost his wife and child in a car accident]. The tragedy of the accident helps us understand one of Biden's most fundamental qualities: empathy. He connects with people. And as he told the class of 2017 at Colby College, forming personal connections--through empathy--is the one successful trait that he sees in all the best world leaders:

"Caring about your colleague as they're dealing with a sick parent, or their child [who] graduated from college, or the child was in an accident. That's the stuff that fosters real relationships, breeds trust, allows you to get things done in a complex world. The person on the other side of the negotiating table, the other side of the political debate; a person who doesn't look like you, who lives in a community you've never visited. They're not some flattened version of humanity, reducible to a collection of parts and attributes. They're a whole person, flawed, struggling to make it in the world just like you."

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p. 49 , Oct 24, 2017

35-year track record of accomplishments

Q: What qualifies you for the job?

BIDEN: I will place my record and Barack’s record against John McCain’s or anyone else in terms of fundamental accomplishments. Wrote the crime bill, put 100,000 cops on the street, wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which John McCain voted against both of them, was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia.

PALIN: But even more important is that world view that I share with John McCain. That world view that says that America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill, as President Reagan so beautifully said, that we are a beacon of hope. We are not perfect as a nation. But together, we represent a perfect ideal. And that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights. Those things that we stand for that can be put to good use as a force for good in this world.

Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Sarah Palin , Oct 2, 2008

Failure is at times inevitable but giving up is unforgivable

My dad, who fell on hard economic times, always told me: “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.” I was taught that by my dad, and God, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here tonight. Mom, I love you. She taught her children that you are defined by your sense of honor, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes that bravery lives in every heart and it will be summoned. Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 27, 2008

Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you

My mother’s creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you. My parents taught us to live our faith, and to treasure our families. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough. That was America’s promise. For those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 27, 2008

Politics is a noble calling

The first principles of politics I learned in the 1950s in my grandpop’s kitchen when I was about twelve years old. Grandpa wanted me to understand two things: First, that nobody, no group is above others. Public servants are obliged to level with everybody, whether or not they’ll like what he has to say. Second, politics was a matter of personal honor. A man’s word is his bond.

If you do politics the right way, you can actually make people’s lives better. And integrity is the minimum ante to get into the game. Nearly 40 years after I first got involved, I remain captivated by the possibilities of politics and public service. I believe my chosen profession is a noble calling.

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p. xi-xvi , Jul 31, 2007


Joe Biden on Past Campaigns

Resounding victory among SC blacks turned primary around

Bernie Sanders launched his second bid for the White House in February 2019 and eventually claimed early victories in the first three nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, elevating him as the field's prohibitive front-runner. But that early momentum stalled in South Carolina, where black voters and moderates delivered a resounding victory to Biden, effectively reviving the former vice president's floundering campaign and kicking off a weeks-long stretch of primary victories.

As Biden ran up the score on Sanders in March, the Vermont senator became torn between competing forces within the Democratic Party and his own campaign. Some allies and operatives urged him to bow out of the race, warning that prolonging the primary fight could damage the party's chances of defeating President Trump in November, especially at a time when the country was dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

Source: The Hill on cancellation of 12th Democratic primary debate , Apr 8, 2020

If Putin interferes, there will be consequences

The president stands on the stage at the G- 20, looks at Vladimir Putin and says, he told me he didn't interfere. When 18 of our security agencies said we have proof, I guarantee you there's proof. And what are we doing? What are our friends in the Congress doing? They're blocking the ability to make sure we secure the election. I know President Putin, and he knows me. He knows there will be consequences if he tries to interfere with our election.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

I'm the only Dem candidate who's gotten big things done

I'm the only one on this stage that's gotten anything really big done. From the Violence Against Women Act, to making sure that we passed the Affordable Care Act, to be in a position where we in fact took almost a 90 billion dollar act that kept us from going into a depression, putting us in a position where I was able to end the issue of gun sales, in terms of assault weapons. We all have good ideas. Who's going to be able to get it done?
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

1972: unseated Republican incumbent Senator Caleb Boggs

The Democrats had a problem. [In 1972] some Senate races were hopeless; why even put up a fight? Take Delaware. The Republicans had an incumbent, and their man looked unbeatable. Senator Caleb Boggs had never lost a race. The Democratic Party bigwigs new they couldn't bear Boggs. So, they needed someone expendable, a sacrificial lamb.

A few names were tossed around. Then came one that most people had never even heard--"How about this Joe Biden kid?" (At the time Biden was a fresh-faced New Castle County councilman and had been networking with the Delaware political scene.)

We can imagine the chuckles. "Joe Biden! Good one." Biden was only 29 years old. "That's too young to be a senator." (It is, literally, too young to be a senator, as Article I of the Constitution says, "No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of 30 years."). Biden knew the odds were close to impossible. In one early poll, 18% of Delawareans had heard of Biden. Boggs? 93%. [Biden won].

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p. 29-31 , Oct 24, 2017

1972 campaign ad: "Do you trust me?"

Biden had an idea for a radio ad that was...unconventional. In the ad, Biden approached random people at a grocery store and said, basically, "My name is Joe Biden. I'm the Democratic candidate for the US Senate. Do you trust me?"

The shoppers would say, "No, why should I trust you?"

He flipped the message to say, "That's what's wrong with America right now. I promise you if you elect me, you'll know exactly where I stand. You'll be able to trust me." The ad was as shoestring as it gets.

Source: AdWatch 2020: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p 40-1 , Oct 24, 2017

Accused of plagiarism in 1987 presidential primary debate

[During the 1988 primaries], across the Atlantic in the election for prime minister, Labour Party candidate Neil Kinnock ran against the heavily favored Margaret Thatcher. Kinnock could give a mean speech. Biden [saw it on] TV. He liked it a lot.

So he began quoting Kinnock in his own stump speeches. Each time, he was careful to clearly reference Kinnock.

Then came the primary debates. On August 23, 1987, at the close of the debate, Biden just did his normal riff on Kinnock. But he rushed it, and forgot to credit Kinnock.

The New York Times unleashed a front-page headline: DEBATE FINALE: AN ECHO FROM ABROAD, which charged that Biden had "lifted Mr. Kinnock's closing speech, without crediting Mr. Kinnock."

Biden was soon accused of ANOTHER bout of plagiarism, suggesting a troubling pattern. Earlier in the year, he had given an inspiring address that clearly lifted language from a 1967 Robert Kennedy speech. It was devastating. William Safire called him "Plagiarizing Joe."

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p. 74-7 , Oct 24, 2017

1987: Accused of plagiarizing Neil Kinnock's speech

A British Labour Party candidate, Neil Kinnock, delivered a speech in his recent election campaign [in which he] talked of the political opportunities that had come to him as a result of the helping hand they had received along the way. It struck a chord with Biden, reminding him of his own fortunes.

Kinnock said of his predecessors, "Anybody really think they didn't get what we have because they didn't have the talent, or the endurance, or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand."

That last phrase particularly captured Biden's attention. At the Iowa debate, the campaign hadn't prepared closing remarks. An aide suggested, "Why don't you use the Kinnock stuff?"

Biden closed with, "Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to university? Were they not smart? Were they weak? No, they didn't have a platform on which to stand." He hadn't made the attribution to Kinnock that he usually did. [Newspapers called it plagiarism].

Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.186-189 , Oct 5, 2010

1966: Required to retake law school course for plagiarism

Young Biden slid into a situation that much later would have damaging consequences to his career. As he described it in the memoir: "About six weeks into the first term I botched a paper in a technical writing course so badly that one of my classmates accused me of lifting passages from a Fordham Law Review article; I had cited the article, but not properly. The truth was, I hadn't been to class enough to know how to do citations in a legal brief. The deans and professors were satisfied that I had not intentionally cheated, but they told me I'd have to retake the course the next year." A classmate remembered Joe coming up to him one day and declaring: "You're not going to believe what just happened. They accused me of plagiarism!" the whole incident was soon forgotten after Biden retook the course in question and passed it the second time around--forgotten, that is, until it resurfaced years later in a manner that shook Biden's political ambitions to the core.
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p. 41-42 , Oct 5, 2010

2008: Lawsuits accused him of defrauding business partner

At about the same time [as Palin was announced and attacked in the press], both the brother and son of Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, were accused by a former business partner of defrauding him out of millions of dollars. Two lawsuits were filed against them in June 2008. That was mentioned on page A-9 of the Washington Post in August. By Election Day, the New York Times still had not reported the lawsuit.
Source: Guilty, by Ann Coulter, p.137 , Nov 10, 2009

Insulted Indian-Americans in attempt to compliment vibrancy

Biden has made several campaign-killing statements since he declared his candidacy in January 2007. In an apparent effort to compliment Americans of Indian descent, “In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans--moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” His office sought to explain the remarks, saying, ‘The point Senator Biden was making is that there has been a vibrant Indian-American community in Delaware for decades. It has primarily been made up of engineers, scientists and physicians, but more recently middle-class families are moving into Delaware and purchasing family-run small businesses.“
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.184 , Nov 11, 2007

MoveOn.org has not changed politics

Q: Senator Biden, do you believe that MoveOn.org has changed politics for the better?

A: I don’t think they’ve changed politics.

Q: Have they been a positive force in politics?

A: On some things, yes. I mean, look, I don’t think you can castigate them for the ad [saying “Patraeus or Betray Us?”]. But the idea that I was initially told--I’m going to get in trouble for this, but--that the quote, “It’s their party”--they’re part of the party. It’s not their party.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 6, 2007

1970: won first election, to County Council, in GOP district

In 1970 I told my wife I thought I’d like to run for New Castle County Council. I explained it was a GOP district, so I probably wouldn’t win, but I’d learn a lot, which had to be a good thing for somebody who wanted to make a more serious run later.

I asked my sister, Val, if she’d run the campaign. She was a methodical organizer. She got voter records going back several elections, had an index card for every block in every neighborhood and started recruiting block captains. I spent most of my time in Democratic precincts, but I also spent time going door to door in the middle-class neighborhoods like the one I grew up in. They were overwhelmingly Republican in 1970, but I knew how to talk to them. I understood they valued good government & fiscal austerity & the environment. I promised to fight for open space. Those voters were key for me. The 1970 elections were a washout for the Democratic Party in Delaware, but I won election to the County Council by 2,000 votes.

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p. 50 , Jul 31, 2007

1972: beat GOP incumbent; 2nd youngest Senator ever elected

[My sister] Val had run every campaign I was in, and she would manage my Senate campaign too. The race for Senate was risk-free. Only a handful of people outside the family thought I had a real shot to win, so I figured even if I lost, people were going to say, “That’s a nice young guy.” I was confident I could be a solid candidate. And I actually believed I could win.

When the political reporters started to find out how hard I was working to win over voters, none of them called my running for the Senate ridiculous. I was “one of the bright young men of the Democratic party.” I think they liked fresh blood to write about. At the same time, the smart guys covering Delaware politics didn’t give me a snowman’s chance in August. They’d note my lack of a war chest, Sen. Boggs’s long-standing popularity, his quarter century of serving Delaware, and the slew of Democratic challengers he’d left by the roadside. [In 1972, Biden won by 3,000 votes and became the 2nd youngest senator ever elected.]

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p. 59-61 , Jul 31, 2007

His book “Promises to Keep” written before presidential race

Q: Tell us a little bit about your book, “Promises to Keep,” that’s coming out.

A: Well, I wrote a book back when I thought I was going to be working with John Kerry in a Kerry administration. It had nothing to do with presidential politics. I was encouraged to write it by a guy named Richard Ben Cramer, who wrote the book “What it Takes,” and asked how my personal values inform my public policy. And I talk about everything from the Supreme Court to the Balkans to Iraq, and how I think that the most significant thing about what we need in leadership is people who are willing to get back up. My dad used to have an expression. He used to say, “The measure of success is not whether you get knocked down; it’s how rapidly you get back up.” And the American people always get back up. And I think what they’re doing is looking for somebody who is going to give them the opportunity to be able to take on the tough issues that are out there and just tell them the truth.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jul 15, 2007

Knocked out of 1988 race due to plagiarizing a speech

Senator Joe Biden, who was knocked out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 by Mike Dukakis is hardly the best the Democrats can put forward. Back then, he plagiarized a speech by British Labor Party Leader Neil Kinnock. Kinnock, who himself went down to defeat by one of the largest margins in UK history, was no role model, and Biden should have stuck to doing what all other politicians do--plagiarizing the work of their own speechwriters.

Biden has gained some credibility with his articulate, objective and forthcoming analysis of the Iraq War, given from his perch atop the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But he is, after all, another has-been who never was.

Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p.230 , Oct 11, 2005


Joe Biden on Personal Background

Member of the same club: those who stutter

Perhaps the most moving moment of the night came when Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old child with a stutter, described Biden's kindness to him. "A few months ago, I met him in New Hampshire," Harrington said. "He told me that we were members of the same club. We stutter." Biden liked Harrington, shared with him the book of poems he himself had used to practice his speech. The comparison with Trump, who has publicly mocked people for their weight, their disabilities, their height, was sharp.
Source: Ezra Klein on Vox.com: 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

Best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose

[Excerpts of DNC speech]: "I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes. But I've learned two things: first, your loved one may have left this earth, but they'll never leave your heart. They'll always be with you. You'll always hear them. And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose."
Source: B.Shepherd on Yahoo.com: 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

Son Beau died of brain cancer despite experimental surgery

[When adult son Beau got ill with brain cancer], we had been drawn to M.D. Anderson by the reputation of Dr. Raymond Sawaya, a neurosurgeon who was regarded among the best in the world at a procedure called awake craniotomy. The patient was actually conscious through most of the surgery. Dr Sawaya had removed a tumor slightly larger than a golf ball, he explained, & Beau had come through without a single complication.; except for the scar on the left side of his head, he would be as he was before. His speech, his cognition, and his motor skills were unharmed. But the news was not all good. The tumor was slightly diffuse, and Sawaya had not been able to get all of it. Then the news got worse. Much worse. The lab results, Dr. Sawaya explained, confirmed the medical team's expectations: Beau's tumor was definitely glioblastoma. Stage IV. It felt like I had been knocked down. I reached for my rosary and asked God to give me the strength to handle this. [Beau died a year later.]
Source: Promise Me, Dad,by Joe Biden, p. 28-30 , Nov 14, 2017

School nuns helped Joey overcome boyhood stuttering

[Joey Biden stuttered heavily in grade school]; even if Joey didn't exactly get "bullied," per se, in the seventh grade he was still being mocked for that lingering speech impediment. In Latin class, the kids gave him the nickname of "Joe Impedimenta."

At Catholic school, after hearing his speech, a nun suggested that instead of trying to blast out a sentence in one gushing torrent, he carve it up into its natural pauses, its rhythm, its cadence. So instead of trying to say, "I love eating ice cream cones on Amtrak," you would say, deliberately, "I love--eat-ing--ice cream-cones--on Amtrak."

This strategy helped. But there was a catch: It required him to rehearse sentences, so he couldn't really use it on the fly. What would he do when a teacher called on him in class?

So, he devised a few clever hacks. [Before each class, he would count the number of paragraphs and] memorize the one that he was likely to recite.

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p.24-5 , Oct 24, 2017

1988: suffered brain aneurysm and 9-hour emergency surgery

In Feb. 1988, Biden spoke to a crowd at the University of Rochester. That night he flopped on his hotel bed, exhausted, then he blacked out. The doctors spotted blood in his spinal fluid. The likely diagnosis? A brain aneurysm.

At the hospital they scanned his brain. He had an intracranial aneurysm, and he needed surgery ASAP.

"Doc, what are my chances?" Biden asked, just before the surgery.

"35% to 50%." Then there was the added risk of morbidity: Paralysis. Loss of speech.

Joe Biden's brain was under the knife for nine hours.ÿThe aneurysm exploded literally seconds after they had pried open his skull. (It's possible that the invasion of the knife itself had caused the burst, but still.)

Biden would live. And then it hit him: "Dropping out of the '88 election saved my life." If he had been campaigning, then he likely would have been wooing votes in N.H., in the snow, and if he had collapsed there, he would have been too far away from the life-saving surgery at Walter Reed.ÿ

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p. 89-92 , Oct 24, 2017

Greatest gift God gave mankind is the ability to forget

No big-time politician is as intentionally (or unintentionally) revealing of inner life as Biden, and being in Detroit seems to encourage him to mingle the personal and the political in ways that so often result in gaffes or self-revelation. Today it's the latter, and he starts in on what he's lost: "My deceased wife used to say that the greatest gift God gave mankind--and she meant it--was the ability to forget," he says. "I'm being serious. Think about it. The greatest gift is the ability to forget-- to forget the bad things and focus on the good."

As the speech goes on, he toggles back and forth between Detroit's bright future and his darker past. "My dad, [a used-car salesman], didn't have a lot of money, but he [bought us] a brand-new 1967 Corvette convertible as a wedding gift. Well, I still have it. I still love it." The audience erupts when he tells them his two sons, Beau and Hunter, who were grievously hurt in the 1972 crash, bought him a new clutch as a Christmas present last year.

Source: Politico Mag profile, "Joe Biden in Winter" , Mar 1, 2014

Favorite movie: “Chariots of Fire”, for real heroism

Q: What’s your favorite movie & why?

A: “Chariots of Fire” is probably my favorite movie. There is a place where someone put personal fame & glory behind principles. That to me, is the mark of real heroism, when someone would do that.

Q: Do you remember your favorite scene from that movie?

A: The favorite scene is when he is making the decision & talking about, “Do I do this?” He so desperately wanted to run, but concluded he couldn’t. It was that moment of decision that was my favorite scene

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Oct 2, 2008

Childhood stuttering strengthened me

My childhood impediment was a stutter. When I was at home with my brothers and sister, hanging with neighborhood friends, or shooting the bull on the ball field, I was fine, but when I got thrown into a new situation or a new school, had to read in front of the class, or wanted to ask out a girl, I just couldn’t do it. My freshman year, because of the stutter, I got an exemption from public speaking. Everybody knew it. It was like having to stand in the corner with the dunce cap. There were days I wondered: How would I ever bear it?

It’s a funny thing to say, but even if I could, I would not wish away the darkest days of the stutter. That impediment ended up being a godsend for me. Carrying it strengthened me and made me a better person. The very things it taught me turned out to be invaluable lessons for my life as well as my chosen career.

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p. 3-4 , Jul 31, 2007

1972: Wife & child killed in pre-inauguration auto accident

[Just after Biden’s 30th birthday, after his election but before his inauguration into the Senate, he was informed his family had been in a traffic accident.] I kept telling myself that everything was going to be OK, but the minute I got to the hospital & saw my brother’s face, I knew the worst had happened. My three children had been in the car with my wife when the accident happened. Neilia had been killed and so had our baby daughter. The boys were alive.

Washington & the Senate had no hold on me. I was supposed to be sworn in two weeks, but I could not bear to imagine the scene without Neilia. I told the Senate majority leader, Mike Mansfield, that I wasn’t going to be a Senator. Mansfield was relentless. He called the hospital every day to tell me he needed me in the Senate and to keep me up to date. Mansfield told me I owed it to Neilia to a Senator. My wife had worked too hard for me to kick it away. Give me six months, Joe, Sen. Mansfield kept saying. So I agreed. Six months.

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p. 79-82 , Jul 31, 2007

Remarried in 1977, willing to give up Senate for Jill

I met Jill Jacobs in 1975: I was 32; she was 24. In 1977 I asked her to marry me. Jill said she couldn’t give me up. I assured her I’d leave the Senate if she wanted me to.

I’d given her my word. I’d already let a few people know they might want to be ready to run for the Senate in case I got out. I was going to have to show Jill I meant it, [so I concluded] “I’ll tell Bill Frank I’m not running.” Frank was the chief political reporters at the Wilmington News-Journal. I could hear Frank’s phone ringing. Then I heard a dial tone. Jill had her finger on the phone cradle. She’d cut off the call. She told me later why: “If I denied you your dream, I would not be marrying the man I fell in love with.”

Jill and I were married by a priest at the UN chapel in NYC in 1977. Beau and Hunter stood with us at the altar. The way they thought of it, the four of us were getting married.

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.116-117 , Jul 31, 2007

1988: suffered aneurysm requiring brain surgery

After a CT scan and an angiogram, the doctor who explained the results of the tests looked worried. I had an aneurysm lying just below the base of my brain. That is what had knocked me out the night before. I was lucky to be alive. But if the aneurysm bled again, I probably wouldn’t survive.

The size of the worst bulge and the leak meant that a fatal rebleed could be imminent. Surgery to shore up the spot where I’d bled was the best chance I had of survival. My chances of surviving the surgery were certainly better than 50-50. But the chances of waking up with serious deficits to my mental facilities were more significant. Any incidental damage could leave me seriously impaired.

The most likely incidence was loss of speech. Dr. George said what he was about to do was going to be difficult, but he had done many of these before. But he recommended I speak to my family--it might be my last chance. [Biden fully recovered from the surgery.]

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.219-222 , Jul 31, 2007


Joe Biden on President Obama

VP should be the last one in the room on major decisions

Q: What would you ask of Vice President Harris?

BIDEN: I asked her what Barack asked of me. I want you to be the last person in the room on every major decision because I know she'll not be intimidated by the Oval Office. I know she'll not be reluctant to tell me exactly what she thinks. And I know she'll have a perspective--different in many cases than mine just by nature of who we are and our backgrounds and that's why I thought it was so important as well to have a woman as vice president.

Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention Biden/Harris Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

We had to wait until after election to tell about it

Q: In the final year of the Obama-Biden administration, was there more you could have done to prevent Russian interference?

BIDEN: In retrospect, there is something. We were informed by the director of central intelligence, that there was evidence that they were interfering in electoral process, trying to break in everything from machines, to changing voter registration. That was in August; Barack Obama was worried, if we spoke out against it, without having more proof and support, then what would have happened is they'd say we're trying to interfere in the election. And so it wasn't until after [the election]--before we left the White House--that we knew the detail of how deep they were. But we went to the Republican leadership in the House, they said, "no, we don't want any part of pointing this out." We had clear, overwhelming circumstantial evidence that it was being done. And Obama did confront Putin, saying that stop it. Putin denied he was doing it. We believed he was doing it.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on Mueller Report , Feb 5, 2020

Vice-presidency is derivative; it reflects president's power

Joe Biden is still basically a happy warrior, but the past couple years have been a struggle for both relevance and leverage--a fight largely hidden from public view, between the presidential dreams he can't quite relinquish and the shrinking parameters of a job he described to me as derivative, borrowed and "totally reflective of the president's power."

Almost all White House partnerships deteriorate in the end, undone by diverging politics, festering policy disputes--or simply human fatigue amid the strains of trying to turn what is inevitably a shotgun marriage into a love match. Bill Clinton and Al Gore were barely on speaking terms by the time the disputed 2000 election came around, with Gore furious at Clinton's sexual indiscretions and Clinton appalled at Gore's lame political skills. Even the celebrated team of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney came unraveled by the final few years, as Bush abandoned the hawkish policies of his veep and turned to a more conciliatory set of advisers.

Source: Politico Mag profile, "Joe Biden in Winter" , Mar 1, 2014

2008: Preferred Secretary of State role to Vice Presidency

Joe Biden didn't want to be vice president--at least not at the start. He liked to trot out an old chestnut for his aides: A woman has two sons; one goes off to sea, the other becomes vice president; neither is heard from again. No, what Biden wanted was to be secretary of state. That was a real job. But when he thought about the other names supposedly on the short list. Tim Kaine? Evan Bayh? Kathleen Sibelius? "Nothing against them", Biden thought, "but if that's the group, I'm the guy."

It was that kind of cogitating that had gotten Biden into the 2008 race in the first place--that and a hunger for redemption. At 64, he saw it as his last chance. But his respect for Hillary Clinton was undiminished. In fact, he told Obama point blank that he should pick her as his running mate.

Obama knew Biden was the right call. The working-class thing. The gray-hair thing. The foreign-policy thing. Oh, and the attacking-dog thing. Obama was convinced that he could count on Biden to maul McCain.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.335-341 , Jan 11, 2010

We need a wise leader like Obama, not just a good soldier

These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader who can change, make the change that everybody knows we need. Obama is going to deliver that change. He will reform our tax code. He will cut taxes for 95% of the American people who draw a pay check. Obama will transform our economy by making alternative energy a national priority and in the process creating 5 million new jobs and finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. Obama knows that any country that out teaches us today, will out compete us tomorrow. That’s why he’ll invest in the next generation of teachers and why he’ll make college more affordable. That’s the change we need. Obama will bring down health care cost by $2,500 for the average family and at long last deliver affordable, accessible health care for every American. That’s the change we need. Barack will put more cops on the street, put security back in social security and he’ll never ever give up until we achieve equal pay for women.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 27, 2008

We should embrace change just like the previous generations

When I look at their young children--and when I look at my grandchildren--I realize why I’m here. I’m here for their future. I am here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I am here for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workers--the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures. Our greatest presidents--from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy--they all challenged us to embrace change. Now, it’s our responsibility to meet that challenge. Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Back up together. Our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred. These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. I’m ready. Barack is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is America’s time.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 27, 2008

Apologized for saying Barack Obama was clean and articulate

Q: You have gotten in trouble with your language. When you said that Barack Obama was [the first African-American candidate who was] clean and articulate, you apologized for it. The Washington Post wrote: “The only thing standing between Joe Biden and the presidency is his mouth. His Achilles’ heel is his mouth.” Do you have a problem?

A: Look, this is a very rough game. My referring to Barack as articulate, it was a mistake. The good thing about being around a long time is people have a basis upon which to judge you. And I didn’t find any serious person in the civil rights community, because of my long history and long support for civil rights, thinking that I was trying to insult Barack Obama in any way. I didn’t find anyone suggesting that anything else I have said goes to the heart of whether or not my record is being undercut by what I’ve stated. But it is true. It is true that my candor sometimes get me in trouble.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Apr 29, 2007


Joe Biden on Religion

Thought about priesthood, but dated a lot of girls

As he mulled over where to go to college, Joe thought about becoming a priest. Even though he had "dated a lot of girls" by that point, he still felt his calling of the frock. The headmaster of Archmere gently suggested that before he swore any lifelong vows of celibacy, maybe he should go to college, then decide.

So, he went to the University of Delaware, dated more girls, and basically turned himself into Hot Young Biden. It's possible that Hot Young Biden might have been a little too hot for his own good. He basically loafed about, and later confessed: "I probably started my first year of college a little too interested in football and meeting new girls. There were a lot of new girls to meet."

He was still trying to meet girls in his junior year, when he drove to Fort Lauderdale with some buddies for Spring Break. Yet he was bummed to find a mob of silly drunken college kids, all of them acting stupid.

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p. 18-19 , Oct 24, 2017

1973: Reconsidered priesthood after losing wife in car crash

Biden recalled his thoughts in the depth of his despair and depression about the loss of [his wife and child in a car crash] was to reconsider the idea of becoming a priest. He went to the local Catholic bishop "about getting a dispensation. In the Catholic Church you could get married and have lost your spouse and have children, and you can get a dispensation to go to the priesthood. I didn't ask him to get it, I asked if he could, would he, etc., and he said, 'Look, Joe, why don't you take a year to think about this? I don't think this is the right thing for you, but if you still want to do that, I will initiate the procedure.' I never followed up on it. It was the only other thing I ever thought about, but it was obvious I didn't have the vocation or I would have done it." So began what soon would be a familiar daily sight to train passengers on the run between New York and Washington, in both directions--the Amtrak life of Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.98-99 , Oct 5, 2010

Prayer gives you strength, but doesn’t prevent crises

Q: Do you believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina could have been prevented?

A: My mom has an expression. She says that, “God sends no cross you’re unable to bear.” The time to pray is when you’re told, as I was, that my wife and daughter are dead, to have the courage to be able to bear the cross. Pray that God can give you the strength to deal with what everyone is faced with in their life, serious crosses to bear. The answer to the question is, no, all the prayer in the world will not stop a hurricane. But prayer will give you the courage to be able to respond to the devastation that’s caused in your life and with others to deal with the devastation.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

Religion informs my values; my reason dictates outcomes

Religion informs my values. My reason dictates outcomes. My religion taught me about abuse of power. That’s why I moved to write the Violence Against Women Act. That’s why I take the position I take on Darfur. It came about as a consequence of the reasoning that we’re able to do it. I don’t find anything inconsistent about my deep, religious beliefs and my ability to use reason.
Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Voted NO on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice.

Vote on the Nomination -- a YES vote would to confirm Samuel A. Alito, Jr., of New Jersey, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Reference: Alito Nomination; Bill PN 1059 ; vote number 2006-002 on Jan 31, 2006

Voted NO on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Vote on the Nomination (Confirmation John G. Roberts, Jr., of Maryland, to be Chief Justice of the United States )
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination of John Roberts; Bill PN 801 ; vote number 2005-245 on Sep 27, 2005

Religious affiliation: Catholic.

Biden : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH11 on Nov 7, 2000

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Joe Biden on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

2020 GOP and Independent primary candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
CEO Howard Schultz (Independent-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (Green-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
Sen.Catherine Masto (D-NV)
Gov.Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
Amb.Susan Rice (D-ME)
Sen.Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
A.G.Sally Yates (D-GA)
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Principles/Values
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Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

External Links about Joe Biden:
Wikipedia
Ballotpedia

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)
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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2020