African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Obama picks Biden as running mate in U.S. election

Posted by African Press International on August 23, 2008

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has chosen Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden to be his vice presidential running mate, the campaign said on its Website on Saturday.

Biden, 65, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a highly respected voice on international affairs.

The announcement also was made in e-mails and mobile phone text messages to millions of supporters. Obama will face off in the Nov. 4 presidential election against Republican John McCain, who has yet to announce his choice for the No. 2 spot.

“Barack has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate,” the announcement said. “Joe Biden brings extensive foreign policy experience, an impressive record of collaborating across party lines, and a direct approach to getting the job done.”

Obama and Biden are scheduled to appear together later on Saturday at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. The venue is where Obama launched his White House bid last year.

Some facts about Biden

Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, shortly before he turned 30, the minimum age. A month later, his wife and daughter were killed and two sons injured in a car crash. Biden considered giving up his Senate seat but party leaders helped persuade him to serve. He remarried 15 years later.

With a liberal to moderate voting record, Biden heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been outspoken on international affairs. Although he backed the 2002 resolution to authorize the use of force in Iraq, he soon became a strong critic of the war and accused President George W. Bush of mishandling it.

Biden’s son Beau, a captain in the Army National Guard, is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in October.

A Roman Catholic originally from the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, Biden would bring to the ticket strong working-class roots that could help Obama connect with the blue-collar voters he has failed to attract.

Biden is the son of a car salesman and is less well off than many of his Senate colleagues. While many lawmakers own or rent residences in Washington, Biden commutes by train from his house in Wilmington, Delaware, 80 minutes each way.

Biden, a frequent guest on political talk shows who seems to relish debating, is seen by many political analysts as well-suited to the traditional role of a No. 2 — attacking the rival candidate.

Biden has acknowledged a tendency to talk too much and he has been prone to verbal gaffes. Last year, early in his own failed presidential campaign, Biden apologized after calling Obama “articulate and bright and clean” in an interview with the New York Observer. Obama said he did not take offense.

When Biden was asked during a primary election season debate whether he possessed the discipline to be president, the famously loquacious senator responded with one word — “yes” — prompting gales of laughter from the audience.

In his previous role as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden presided over two of the most controversial confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees, both conservative Republicans. Robert Bork was rejected while Clarence Thomas was narrowly confirmed.

In 1987, Biden was seen as a rising young political star and ran for president. But he dropped out after charges of plagiarism in one speech and exaggerating his academic record. Biden said: “In my zeal to rekindle idealism, I made some mistakes.”

Story by Reuters

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API/Source.standard.ke

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