Joe Biden served as Delaware's senator from 1973-2009 before becoming President Obama's VP. Due to his name recognition and moderate politics, some argue Biden — 2020's current Democratic frontrunner — could be best positioned to make inroads with blue-collar swing voters who broke for Trump in 2016.
Key facts about Joe Biden:
- Age: 76
- Born: Scranton, Pa.
- Undergraduate: University of Delaware
- Date candidacy announced: April 25, 2019
- Previous roles: Vice president; U.S. senator from Delaware
Joe Biden's stance on key issues:
- The cost of college: "Community college should be ... free," Biden said at the Electrical Workers Conference in April. In 2015, he claimed to support free tuition at state universities.
- Health care: Supports an optional Medicare buy-in. Biden's plan would create a government option for enrollees in Affordable Care Act exchanges.
- "The Affordable Care Act was a big step ... we need to build on it. What we can't do is blow it up," he said.
- Criminal justice: Supports "automatically expunging records for marijuana convictions," "mandatory treatment, not jail, for those with drug addictions," and "automatic restoration of voting rights" after a sentence is served.
- Has a history of being anti-marijuana, calling it a "gateway drug." As VP, Biden supported decriminalization rather than legalization.
- Minimum wage: In 2015, Biden called for a $12 federal minimum wage, gradually increasing to $15 by 2020.
- Infrastructure: He suggested a general use of private and public funds to invest in federal infrastructure, saying the U.S. needs "a massive commitment to rebuild our infrastructure."
- Climate change: Biden rolled out an ambitious climate plan in June, calling for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Key criticisms of Joe Biden:
- Allegations of inappropriate touching: 7 woman have come forward to address what they describe as instances of inappropriate touching.
- Biden responded to the allegations, saying he understands "social norms are changing" and "boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset."
- Justice Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation: Biden, who formerly chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted against Thomas, but was criticized for failing to defuse attacks against Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment.
- Hyde Amendment: After a wave of criticism, Biden reversed his position on supporting a ban on federal funding for abortions.
- The war on drugs and crime bills: In January, Biden expressed regret for supporting tough-on-crime bills during his time in Congress, which experts say have led to an era of mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black Americans.
- Integration: He attempted to pass anti-busing legislation for school integration in the 1970s, a stance that has garnered renewed criticism.
- Immigration: During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Biden said he supported building a fence along the southern border to stop "illegals" from bringing drugs to the U.S. He also called for punishing American employers who hired undocumented migrants.
1 fun thing about Joe Biden:
- When in law school, Biden and his wife purchased a puppy they named "Senator."