10 Things You Didn't Know About Joe Biden

Some facts you may not know about Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

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Joe Biden
Joe Biden

1. Born in Scranton, Pa., on Nov. 20, 1942, he and his family moved to Delaware in 1953. His father, the manager of a car dealership, affectionately called his oldest child "Champ."

2. As a child, Biden stuttered and was teased by his classmates. He practiced reading aloud in front of a mirror and worked hard to overcome it. During law school he befriended a stutterer and worked with him regularly on his speech. Now Biden is known as a loquacious orator.

3. He and his young wife, Neilia Hunter Biden, bought a puppy in 1967 while he attended Syracuse University College of Law, naming the dog "Senator."

4. Biden has experienced a couple of personal tragedies. Several weeks after he was elected to the Senate in 1972 (at age 29, though he would reach the constitutional age of 30 by the time he was sworn in), his wife and young daughter were killed in an automobile accident. In 1988, he nearly died from a brain aneurysm.

5. After losing his first wife, he married a woman formerly known as Jill Tracy Jacobs. They celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this year. He has two sons, Beau and Hunter, and a daughter named Ashley. He also has four granddaughters.

6. During the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings, when Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, he had to go to his dentist in the middle of the night for two root canals.

7. For years he has commuted to work via Amtrak between Washington and Wilmington, Del. A one-way trip takes at least 80 minutes. He's friendly with the Amtrak staff and hosts an annual Christmas dinner for the Amtrak crew members.

8. He withdrew from the 1988 presidential race after reports surfaced that he had plagiarized a British politician's words. 

9. Biden spent more than half his life in the Senate.

10. Biden is the first Roman Catholic and the first Delawarean to become vice president of the United States.


  • Almanac of American Politics
  • Politics in America
  • News Journal
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Life
  • Post-Standard
  • Knight Ridder

Updated 3/11/09