Joe Biden (Pre-Debate)

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Joe Biden is not Sarah Palin (thank God). Neither is he Hillary Clinton (unfortunately). But Obama could have done worse. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, it’s because I don’t really know that much about Biden. And I think that’s a glaring mistake of the Obama campaign.

The Obama campaign needs to appeal to the female swing voters in this country. Biden has a good record regarding women’s rights. Yesterday I made a link to an article entitled “Ladies’ Man” in which Biden’s efforts on behalf of the Violence Against Women Act were recounted. Biden has also co-sponsored re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment. Even though he is Catholic and believes that life begins at conception, he supports a woman’s right to privacy when it comes to her own body.

I have found that many people are in the dark about his personal history. I was until I started researching him recently. His first wife and daughter were killed and his two sons critically injured in a car accident in 1971. Rather than pull his sons out of their school and community after this tragedy, he made the decision to commute from Delaware. He was a single parent for five years before marrying his second (and present) wife in 1977.

I’m not saying that just surviving a personal tragedy makes you a better person. But it takes a certain amount of fortitude to keep on going, especially for your children, when something like this happens. The fact that he decided to continue his political career in the midst of all this could be seen by some to be a misplacement of priorities, but it can also be seen as an example of his dedication to what he believed to be his life’s work.

Jill and Joe have a daughter, Ashley Blazer Biden, who was born in 1981. She is a social worker. Their son Joseph Beau Biden is Delaware’s Attorney General and son Robert Hunter Biden is a lawyer. The couple also have 5 grandchildren: Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta Mabel, Natalie and Robert Hunter.

I think that Biden is from the school of politics in which you don’t talk about your family or use them in any way for political gain. But Palin has broken that unspoken rule. (Or rather, McCain’s campaign handlers have.) Personally, I want to know about a candidate’s family and personal history. It will all come out sooner or later, the press being what it is. So why not be proactive and go ahead and promote Joe Biden the man as well as the politician?

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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