Edging closer to the presidency – Joe Biden in profile

His third bid for the White House, Joe Biden is edging closer to victory in the US presidential race.

A familiar face to many Americans, the 77-year-old Democratic candidate has had a long political career in Washington and spent two terms as vice president to Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Described by Mr Obama as the “best vice president America ever had” during their tenure, Mr Biden voiced support for LGBT rights,  calling himself “absolutely comfortable” with the idea of same-sex marriage.

He was caught on a microphone saying that the signing of the Affordable Care Act was a “big f****** deal” and also led the Gun Violence Task Force in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.

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Democratic candidate Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama (Andrew Harnik/AP)

His loyalty to the first African American President was rewarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, presented by Mr Obama days before he left office in 2017.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1942 to a Catholic family, Joe Robinette Biden Jr studied at the University of Delaware and then earned a law degree from Syracuse University in 1968.

He was first elected in 1972, and served six terms as a senator for the state of Delaware.

He was was the sixth youngest Senator in US history aged 30 and his age at his first election contributed to him being consistently ranked as one of the least wealthy members in the Senate.

His first attempt at the White House job was the 1988 race, but he was forced to withdraw from the Democratic nomination contest after he admitted to plagiarising parts of a speech from British Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Shortly after Mr Kinnock’s May 1987 conference speech which included the lines: “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?

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He admitted copying part of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s speech (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”

Mr Biden echoed on the campaign trail – without credit to Mr Kinnock – “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?

“Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?”

His next run for the Democratic candidacy was in 2007, which concluded with him pulling out and joining the Obama ticket.

Mr Biden secured the current nomination when his last competitor, Bernie Sanders, dropped out in April 2020.

He faced allegations from former staffer Tara Reade in 2019, who said she felt uncomfortable with Mr Biden during her time in his Senate office in the 90s.

In March 2020, she also accused him of a sexual assault in 1993.

Mr Biden and his campaign team have strongly denied the allegation.

During his time on The Hill, Mr Biden was a long-term member of the Senate Judiciary committee and the Foreign Relations Committee, of which he eventually became chair.

During his time on the Judiciary Committee, Mr Biden spearheaded the 1994 Crime Bill which led to mass incarcerations, something he expressed regret over at a town hall campaign event in Philadelphia last month.

Mr Biden has often spoken of the loss of his first wife Neilia and baby daughter Naomi in a car accident.

The tragedy, in 1972, also left his toddler sons Beau and Hunter injured, meaning the newly-elected Senator took the oath of office from their hospital room.

More than 40 years later in 2015, Beau died of a brain tumour aged 46.

Mr Biden has referred to his personal losses on the campaign trail, and declared: “Healthcare is personal to me.”

Health care is deeply personal to me. And I guarantee you that if I'm elected president, I will protect your family's health care as if it were my own. pic.twitter.com/wmIpmg1EcT

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 12, 2020

In a campaign video released in October, Mr Biden pointed to his son’s terminal diagnosis and said: “I can’t fathom what would have happened if the insurance companies had the power to say ‘last few months, you’re on your own’.”

Mr Biden met his second wife, Jill Jacobs in 1975, and they married in June 1977.

They had a daughter, Ashley, in 1981.

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