News World US The 46th President? Joe Biden’s road from Scranton to the White House door
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The 46th President? Joe Biden’s road from Scranton to the White House door

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It’s a tight race, but Democratic leader Joe Biden is almost certainly going to become the next President of the United States.

Whether Americans know him as Donald Trump’s adversary, or as former President Barack Obama’s right-hand man, Mr Biden is no stranger to the spotlight.

If he wins the election, the 77-year-old will beat Mr Trump’s record and become the oldest US President in history – a fact that critics have been quick to point out.

But while some say Mr Biden is too old for the top job, there’s no danger of him getting lost around the White House.

With nearly half a century of political experience under his belt, he knows the complex – and the inner workings of government – inside out.

So who is Mr Biden?

And what does he stand for?

Joe Biden would inherit a divided nation. Photo: Getty

Early years

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1942.

For several years, young Joe lived a happy life with his three younger siblings and parents, though alcohol became a growing issue at home and in his neighbourhood.

Ten years later, the Biden family moved to Delaware when his father, Joseph Snr, dealt with several bad business partners and fell into financial troubles.

“My dad always said, ‘Champ, the measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down, but how quickly he gets up,’” Mr Biden said of his father, who died in 2002 at age 86.

Joe Snr’s motto has featured as a recurring theme in many of his son’s speeches.

Family

In 1965, Joe completed a double major in history and political science at the University of Delaware, before earning a law degree at Syracuse University, where he met first wife Neilia Hunter.

A young Joe Biden wearing a red shirt smiles while standing outdoors with palm trees behind him.
Joe Biden as a university student in the 1960s. Photo: Joe Biden

In the following years, the pair had three children: Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III, Robert Hunter Biden and Naomi Christina Biden.

In 1972 Joe was elected to the US Senate at just 29-years-old, setting him on the path to represent Delaware for what would become a whopping six terms.

Senator Joe Biden and wife Neilia cut his 30th birthday cake, with son Hunter waiting for the first piece. Photo: Getty

But what was meant to be a time of celebration ended tragically weeks later, when Neilia and Naomi died in a horrific car crash.

Beau and Hunter were critically injured but managed to survive.

As a result, Joe spent the next five years serving as a senator and caring for his two boys as a single father.

Senator Joe Biden in his office in 1978. Getty

In 1977, he married a high school English teacher, Jill Jacobs, who gave birth to their daughter, Ashley Blazer, in 1980.

Sadly, more grief was to come.

Four decades later, Joe’s eldest son, Beau – the Attorney General of Delaware – died in 2015 at age 46 after battling brain cancer.

Joe Biden, then US Vice President, talking with his US Army Captain son Beau in 2009 – a few years before his shock cancer diagnosis. Photo: Getty

Hunter, meanwhile, developed a drug dependency and was dismissed from the US Navy after returning a positive test for cocaine.

hunter-joe-biden
In 2019, Donald Trump suggested Ukraine ‘look into’ Mr Biden and his son Hunter. Photo: Getty

Legacy

During Mr Biden’s extensive political career, he has led negotiations to curb nuclear arms with Russia, pushed for action to address climate change, spearheaded the Violence Against Women Act and secured the passage of bills calling for gun-owner background checks and bans on assault weapons.

He ran for president twice – once in 1987, but dropped out within months – and again in 2009, but lost to fellow Democrat Barack Obama.

That was all during his time in the Senate – before many Americans knew his name.

After 10 years in the Senate, Joe Biden announced plans to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 1987, but dropped out of the race. Photo: Getty

That changed when he became the 47th vice president under Mr Obama, from 2009 to 2017.

At the time, America was coming off the back of a global recession.

During their first term together, Mr Biden helped pass and then oversee the Recovery Act – the biggest economic recovery plan in US history – which led to long-term job growth and employment.

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama at the White House in 2009. Photo: Getty

The pair later secured the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which helped 20 million Americans access health insurance and banned insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, like cancer.

As vice president, Mr Biden also supported marriage equality for the LGBTQI community and headed a new national effort to fund cancer treatment and research.

There are still chapters left to be written for the likely future President. But what they will be remains to be seen…

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