Joe Biden announced he is running to be the 46th President of the United States Thursday morning in a video. The 76-year-old has formerly served as the 47th US Vice President. In March, Biden went on an apology campaign discussing the Anita Hill hearings and issued a “sorry not sorry” apology surrounding accusations of his invading personal space.
In a Quinnipiac University Poll released March 28, Biden leads the Democratic primary vote with 29 percent.
You can watch his announcement video here:
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Biden has a Long History in the Public Eye
Biden’s father was a car salesman, and the future US Vice President had a stutter as a child he says he got rid of by reciting poetry in front of a mirror.
When Biden was Senator-elect in 1972 and ambitioned to be the youngest president since JFK, his first wife Neilia Hunter and daughter Naomi Christina died in a car accident. Biden’s two sons, badly injured, survived the collision. The family was Christmas tree shopping. Biden does not work on December 18th of every year in remembrance of Neilia and Naomi’s deaths.
“As his sons recovered, Biden commuted from their home in Delaware to Washington on Amtrak every day, and continued to do so for the 36 years that he served as a senator, leading to the nickname ‘Amtrak Joe,'” reports Bustle. Biden’s eldest son Beau became Attorney General of Delaware. He died in 2015 at age 46 from brain cancer. Biden himself has survived life-threatening brain aneurysms.
Biden “was facing a backlash against busing from white voters” when he spoke in support of segregation in 1975, qualifying his position as empowering for black racial identity.
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act in 1990.
“Twenty years ago, this was a right that few people understood and our culture failed to recognize. Kicking a wife in the stomach or pushing her down the stairs was repugnant, but it wasn’t taken seriously as a crime,” Biden wrote in Time.
Biden voted for the war in Afganistan in 2001, and voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq in 2002. A decade later he would state otherwise, according to The Washington Free Beacon:
“By the way, they talk about this great recession like it fell out of the sky–like, ‘Oh my goodness, where did it come from?'” Biden said. “It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, at the same time, put a prescription drug plan on the credit card, a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.”
“I was there, I voted against them,” Biden continued. “I said, no, we can’t afford that.”
2. Biden Was a 2-Term Vice President Under Barack Obama
Entering his vice presidency, Biden said he would counsel and support Obama in his decisions rather than push his own agenda.
Top donors who helped power President Barack Obama’s campaigns prepared to boost Joe Biden for 2020, reports Politico.
This makes his third attempt at running for US president. He sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and again in 2008 only to drop out each time. In 1988 his fundraising was overshadowed by that of Michael Dukakis, and in 2008 he was instead chosen as Barack Obama’s running mate.
3. Biden Has Been Accused of Crossing Boundaries With Women
Several women came forward in 2019 as Biden’s presidential bid ramped up, alleging Biden had made them uncomfortable in various situations.
A reputation as “Creepy Uncle Joe” started first as what New York Magazine called “America’s honorary cool uncle”, recognizing Biden’s long political career.
The allegations did not hurt Biden’s poll numbers as his announcement drew imminent, and reports varied widely as women spoke up about the “close talker” who smelled a woman’s hair and grabbed hands to hold in boundary-crossing moves over the decades.
Snopes debunked the rumor that Biden groped Stephanie Carter in 2017 following the advent of the #MeToo Movement. Biden did place his hands on Carter’s shoulders and she later supported him as others came forward, but the image that circulated was manipulated to place his hand on her waist.
4. Biden Was Accused of Plagiarism During His First Run for President
Biden faced multiple accusations of plagiarism, including a speech but dating to his college days, which attributed to his loss of the Democratic nomination in 1988. Then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, who ultimately earned more fundraising than Biden for the nomination, referenced Biden’s plagiarism in a video attack.
Business Insider reports, “Dukakis — who would go on to win the nomination but lose the general election to the late-President George HW Bush — ultimately fired his political director Paul Tully and campaign manager John Sasso over the ad.
Biden responded by saying, “Look, I’m a big boy. I’ve been in politics for 15 years. This is not my style. If they want to do it this way, so be it,” reports The New York Times.
Biden went further to have the reports of his plagiarism in college released.
“The file distributed by the Senator included a law school faculty report, dated Dec. 1, 1965, that concluded that Mr. Biden had ”used five pages from a published law review article without quotation or attribution’ and that he ought to be failed in the legal methods course for which he had submitted the 15-page paper,” reports The New York Times.
5. He Started the Biden Foundation & 2 Policy Institutes
In addition to two policy institutes, one at Penn and the other at University of Delaware, Biden created The Biden Foundation in 2017 with the following list of purposes:
- Advancing Community Colleges
- Ending Violence Against Women
- Ensuring LGBTQ Equality
- Protecting Children
- Shaping Foreign Policy
- Strengthening the Middle Class
- Supporting Military Families
“We look forward to this new chapter where we will continue our work to ensure that everyone—no matter their income level, race, gender, age, or sexuality—is treated with dignity and gets a fair shot at achieving the American Dream,” Biden said upon launching the foundation.
Biden places himself to appeal to an anti-populism crowd between Trumpsters and Bernie Sanders acolytes as the Democratic party’s middle ground between Sander’s “social democracy and the newfangled form of hyper-woke politics that Hillary Clinton,” reports Vox.
“If you’re looking for someone who can simultaneously persuade the angry mobs to put away the pitchforks and still bring white working-class voters back into the Democratic fold, perhaps you’ve found your answer in the Pride of Scranton,” writes Bill Scher for Politico.