Sunday, August 24, 2008

The good and bad of Joe Biden

By now we all know Barack Obama's pick for his vice president is Joe Biden, but what do we know about him?

Here are the pros and cons of Biden:


Biden has already demonstrated an appetite for defending Obama and taking on McCain, particularly on foreign policy issues. In May, he criticized President Bush for attacking those like Obama who favor reaching out diplomatically to regimes like Iran and North Korea.

The senator also offers a compelling personal story. His first wife, Neilia Hunter, died in a car accident in 1972 as she was driving their three children shortly after his election as U.S. senator. Their infant daughter was also killed but their two sons -- Beau and Hunter -- survived their injuries.

Biden, then 30, was sworn in as a first-term senator at his sons' bedside.

Biden has long harbored aspirations to be president himself. He ran this year, but dropped out of the Democratic presidential race in January after he finished fifth with less than a percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.

"I'm not a superstar," he said while stumping in Iowa. "People say they like me, people tell me they think I'd be a good president but that they just don't think I can win."

Along with his Senate Foreign Relations post, which recently took him on a trip to Georgia after the Russian invasion, Biden has been chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has had a hand in legislation on crime, terrorism and drug policy.

He is popular with many Democratic Party activists and may help Obama with less affluent voters who have been cool to him.

Here are the cons of Biden:

As a 36-year Senate veteran, Biden is a Washington insider, an image that is at odds with the theme of change Obama has promoted.

Biden supported the 2002 resolution in favor of military action in Iraq. Obama has made his opposition to the war a centerpiece of his campaign. However, Biden has become a persistent critic of the handling of the war.

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