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Joe Biden on Principles & Values

Democratic Sr Senator (DE); Vice President-Elect


Familiarity & experience balances Obama's inexperience

For Democrat contender Obama, a United States senator from Illinois, a new approach meant reliance on eloquence and unbridled enthusiasm for innovation. Fresh and untainted by politics as usual, his inexperience made him seem new and extraordinarily alive. Yet that inexperience--the very thing that made him fresh--left him vulnerable to attack as young and untried, having just arrived in the Senate from the Illinois legislature. To balance the ticket, Obama turned to a familiar party leader and career politician, Senator Joseph Biden, as his running mate.

To distance himself from President Bush, McCain emphasized his role as a political maverick rather than party stalwart. Yet his experience--the thing that gave him cache with moderate voters--left him appearing old, outdated, and bound in the strictures of traditional politics. In need of adding balance, he selected as his running mate a governor--one who was female, young, and relatively unknown to the national political spotlight.

Source: Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader, by Joe Hilley, chapter 1 Oct 13, 2008

As VP, I’ll be point person in Congress

Q: What do you see as your role as vice president?

A: I had a long talk with Barack. Let me tell you what Barack asked me to do. I have a history of getting things done in the US Senate. John McCain would acknowledge that. My record shows that on controversial issues. I would be the point person for the legislative initiatives in the US Congress for our administration. When asked if I wanted a portfolio, my response was, no. But Barackindicated to me he wanted me with him to help him govern. So every major decision he’ll be making, I’ll be sitting in the room to give my best advice. He’s president, not me, I’ll give my best advice.

And one of the things he said early on when he was choosing, he said he picked someone who had an independent judgment and wouldn’t be afraid to tell him if he disagreed. That is sort of my reputation, as you know. I look forward to working with Barack and playing a very constructive role in his presidency, bringing about the kind of change this country needs.

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

Cheney has been most dangerous VP in history

Q: You mentioned that the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

PALIN: Yeah, I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there.

BIDEN: Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president, that’s the Executive Branch. The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

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

Models his role on LBJ’s vice presidency

Q: What previous vice president impresses you the most and why?

A: A: Lyndon Johnson. For all the foibles he had as president, in people’s minds, he really knew how the system worked. He was able to be a significant facilitator of a new frontier, new policy. People in the Congress knew him, knew he knew a lot. And so I hope one of my roles as vice president will be as the person actually implementing Barack Obama’s policy. You gotta get the Congress to go along with it.

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

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

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

McCain no maverick on education, health care, and debt

PALIN: Change is coming. And John McCain is the leader of that reform.

BIDEN: I’ll be very brief. John McCain has been no maverick on the things that matter to people’s lives. He voted four out of five times for eorge Bush’s budget, which put us a half a trillion dollars in debt this year and over $3 trillion in debt since he’s got there. He has not been a maverick in providing health care for people. He has voted against including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan. He’s not been a maverick when it comes to education. e has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college. He’s not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table.

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

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

Focus on Iraq, ending torture, healthcare, and education

In the first year of my presidency, I will call the Joint Chiefs in to end the war in Iraq. I would in my inaugural address make it clear to the world that we were abandoning the Bush policy with regard to torture and holding prisoners. By picking things Americans value the most and we can take on interest groups the quickest on, I’d insure every single child in the US and provide catastrophic health insurance for every child. I would implement the preschool education proposal that I have here.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007

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

Giuliani is truly not qualified to be president

The irony is, Giuliani, probably the most underqualified man since Bush to seek the presidency is talking about any of the people here. There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11. There’s nothing else, and I mean this sincerely. Here’s a man who brags about how he made the city safe. It was the Biden crime bill that became the Clinton crime bill that allowed him to do that. They wipe it out. He remains silent. The 9/11 Commission comes along and says the way to keep your city safe is to do the following things. He’s been silent. He’s done nothing. Now he’s talking about he’s going to go in and he will demonstrate to Iran, he’s going to in fact lay down the law. This man is truly not qualified to be president. I’m looking forward to running against Giuliani. With regard to my experience, in 1979 I led a delegation of 19 senators negotiating the START agreement with Brezhnev. I was deeply involved in Bosnia. I introduced the first public financing bill.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 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

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

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

Next president has no margin of error, post-Bush

We know how badly this president has ruined this country. We know how terrible we are internationally. I think the next president, when he or she takes office, better understand two things. One, they’re going to be left with virtually no margin of error. And two, they better understand and believe what it’s worth losing over if they’re going to get anything done. That’s the president I’d be.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

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

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

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

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: Presidential run intended as base-building for 1992

After President Reagan won a second term in 1984, the question of my running was back on the table. It would be a wide-open field in 1988--no incumbent and no heir apparent on the Democratic side. I was pretty sure the most formidable Democrat, Mario Cuomo, wasn’t going to run. And when I took a look at likely candidates--Gary Hart, Richard Gephardt, Jesse Jackson--I felt I measured up. I was just 42, but after a decade on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and nearly that long on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I knew the world and America’s place in it in a way few politicians did.

If someone had hooked me up to a lie detector in 1988 and asked if I was going to be a fully announced candidate for 1988, I would have said no. If they had asked me if I was building a base to run for president in 1992 or 1996, I would have said, “Absolutely.”

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.143-146 Jul 31, 2007

1988: plagiarized law school paper, but not malevolently

During the 1988 presidential race, there was a new story bubbling about problems I’d had in law school. Now, in addition to everything else, I had to answer for my screw-up in Legal Methods 22 years earlier.

This was an academic mistake. I hadn’t been trying to cheat. My gurus advised me to just say I did it and ask for forgiveness. I said, “It was an academic mistake. I wasn’t trying to hide it. If I was trying to hide it, why would I cite this article that no one else in the class found? I didn’t cheat.“

I’d made a stupid mistake 22 years earlier, I told the press. ”I was wrong, but I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody. I am in this race to stay. I am in this race to win.“ The NY Times headline was ”Biden admits plagiarism in School but says it was not ‘malevolent.’“ [As a result, Biden withdrew from the presidential race.]

Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.198-202 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

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

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

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

Embellishment forced withdrawal from 1988 presidential race

Q: Sometimes your embellishment gets you in trouble. In 1988 you withdrew as a candidate, because, as was written at the time: “ Biden’s trouble began with the revelation that he had used, without attribution, long portions of a moving address by the British Labor Party leader, Neil Kinnock. It emerged he had also used passages from the speeches of Robert Kennedy & Hubert Humphrey. It was revealed that Biden had been disciplined as a first-year law student for using portions of a law review article in a paper without proper attribution and was hit again by a videotape of his appearance in New Hampshire in which he misstated several facts about his academic career.“ That was a problem.

A: It was.

Q: And you learned from it?

A: I did. It was 20 years ago, and I learned from it. People have had 20 years to judge since then whether or not I am the man they see or I am what I was characterized as being 20 years ago. I learned a lot from it, and, let me tell you, it was a bitter way to learn it.

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

Biggest mistake was thinking he could work with George Bush

Q What is the most significant professional mistake you have made in the past four years?

A: Overestimating the competence of this administration and underestimating the arrogance. I really thought, working with the secretary of state and with other Republicans, I could impact on George Bush’s thinking. And that was absolutely not within my capacity.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 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

Plans to seek presidential nomination in 2008

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said yesterday he plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 unless he decides later this year that he has little chance of winning. “My intention is to seek the nomination,” Biden said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I know I’m supposed to be more coy with you. I know I’m supposed to tell you that I’m not sure. But if, in fact, I think that I have a clear shot at winning the nomination by this November or December, then I’m going to seek the nomination.
Source: 2008 Speculation by Dan Balz in Washington Post Jun 20, 2005

Conducted Bork hearings in a scholarly manner, not emotional

[Supreme Court nominee] Bork was a distinguished academic but an ideological bomb-thrower; an argument could be made that he was not merely a conservative but a radical reactionary. The leaders of the anti-Bork coalition decided to have that argument made substantively, by constitutional scholars, rather than emotionally; activists like Ralph Nader and Molly Yard, of the National Organization for Women, were persuaded not to testify. Nader did meet with Joseph Biden, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, before the hearings began and said that the Bork nomination, if handled correctly, could be a "constituency-building exercise" for the liberal activists--that is, a major direct mail fund-raising opportunity. Biden was disgusted. "I told him no," he recalled, "and I'm proud of the way those hearings were run."

Ralph Nader's personal asceticism and low-key style masked a sour and unrelenting demagogue--and he clearly understood the new political terrain better than Biden did.

Source: The Natural, by Joe Klein, p. 97-98 Feb 11, 2003

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

Rated 100% by the AU, indicating support of church-state separation.

Biden scores 100% by the AU on church-state separation

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 AU scores as follows:

About the AU (from their website, www.au.org):

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.

Americans United is a national organization with members in all 50 states. We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director. AU has more than 75,000 members from all over the country. They include people from all walks of life and from various faith communities, as well as those who profess no particular faith. We are funded by donations from our members and others who support church-state separation. We do not seek, nor would we accept, government funding.

Source: AU website 06n-AU on Dec 31, 2006

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Joe Biden on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010