Boston, Mass. (August 23, 2008) -- Catholic Democrats is applauding Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama for his selection of Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) as his Vice-Presidential running mate. Senator Obama announced his choice today.
"Senator Biden will make an excellent Vice-President," said Dr. Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. "He has lived out the tenets of his Catholic faith throughout his career--speaking out tirelessly on behalf of the poor and the exploited, encouraging peace and reconstruction in the most despairing corners of the world, and promoting personal responsibility here in the US. He is truly a public servant who believes in the common good."
Joe Biden has represented the state of Delaware in the United States Senate since 1972, when he was elected at the age of twenty-nine. Senator Biden is recognized as a leader in foreign policy, as well as one of the nation's most influential voices on terrorism, drug policy, and crime. Nationally, Senator Biden has earned a reputation for working on a bipartisan basis with Republican colleagues and bringing real results that matter to Americans.
The selection of Senator Biden is a courageous one for Senator Obama. Senator Biden did not pull any punches as a primary campaign rival, indicating Senator Obama's openness to critical thinking at the top. The Bush Administration has been almost universally condemned for employing few people who were less than mindlessly loyal to the president.
The choice also represents a bold opportunity to revisit some of the religious battles of the 2004 presidential election. Conservatives were not shy in the last election about going after a Catholic nominee for his faith, and a similar strategy can be anticipated in this election.
But Senator Biden has sterling credentials when it comes to grappling with the most compelling moral issues in America's relationship to the world. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden's top foreign policy priority has been bringing home American troops without leaving chaos behind in Iraq. Senator Biden and Les Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, have offered a five-point plan that offers a political solution to ending the war - a plan overwhelming endorsed by his Senate colleagues by a 75-23 vote. His leadership was also widely hailed for helping to bring stability and peace to the Balkans. In 1999, Senator Biden authored a Senate-passed resolution endorsing intervention in Kosovo. Senator Biden is leading the Congressional effort to end genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
As a long-standing member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Biden is a strong leader on crime and drug policy and has been instrumental in crafting almost every major piece of crime legislation over the past two decades. His Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 - also known as the Biden Crime Bill - put more than 100,000 police on America's streets and increased federal support dramatically for innovative criminal justice prevention and rehabilitation. The 2007 Biden Crime Bill goes further by addressing the 21st century crime problems such as computer hacking, on-line child exploitation and teenage prescription drug abuse. As the Co-Chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, Senator Biden was the first in Congress to propose a "Drug Czar," a cabinet level office to coordinate all federal agencies responsible for drug-related programs and devise a strategy to combat illegal drug use and trafficking in America.
One of Senator Biden's longstanding priorities is making college more accessible and affordable for students and their families. Recently, he introduced the College Affordability and Creating Chances for Educational Success for Students (ACCESS) Act which would increase tax incentives, expand Pell grants, and begin college planning as early as the eighth grade.
Senator Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965, and from the Syracuse University College of Law in 1968. Prior to his election to the Senate, Biden practiced law in Wilmington, Delaware and served on the New Castle County Council from 1970 to 1972. He is an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law. He is a graduate of Archmere Academy, a Catholic college preparatory school.
Senator Biden lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and is the father of three children. He also has five grandchildren. Senator Biden religiously commutes more than an hour from his home in Delaware to Washington DC, and stands to represent an inspiration to all Catholics and all Americans in his dedication to those values that are at the heart of our faith.