Democratic Convention Election 2008- Joe Biden - History

Democratic Convention Election 2008- Joe Biden - History

Joe Biden, Delaware

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 08:20 PM
†Beau, I love you. I am so proud of you. Proud of the son you are. Proud of the father youíve become. And Iím so proud of my son Hunter, my daughter Ashley, and my wife Jill, the only one who leaves me breathless and speechless at the same time.

It is an honor to share this stage tonight with President Clinton. And last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of the great leaders of our party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history: my colleague and my friend, Senator Hillary Clinton.

And I am honored to represent our first stateómy stateóDelaware.

Since Iíve never been called a man of few words, let me say this as simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve alongside our next President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: ìThe vice presidentís office is on the phone.î

Barack Obama and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then Wilmington, Delaware. With a dad who fell on hard economic times, but who always told me: ìChamp, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.î

I wish that my dad was here tonight, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here. You know, she taught her childrenóall the children who flocked to our houseóthat you are defined by your sense of honor, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes bravery lives in every heart and her expectation is that it will be summoned.

Failure at some point in everyoneís life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. As a child I stuttered, and she lovingly told me it was because I was so bright I couldnít get the thoughts out quickly enough. When I was not as well dressed as others, she told me how handsome she thought I was. When I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, she sent me back out and demanded that I bloody their nose so I could walk down that street the next day.

After the accident, she told me, ìJoey, God sends no cross you cannot bear.î† And when I triumphed, she was quick to remind me it was because of others.

My motherís creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. You are everyoneís equal, and everyone is equal to you.

My parents taught us to live our faith, and treasure our family. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they try.

That was Americaís promise. For those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream and we knew it.

But today that American dream feels as if itís slowly slipping away. I donít need to tell you that. You feel it every single day in your own lives.

Iíve never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up. Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late. As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what theyíre talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed.

Like millions of Americans, theyíre asking questions as profound as they are ordinary. Questions they never thought they would have to ask:

††† * Should mom move in with us now that dad is gone?
††† * Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars to fill up the car?
††† * Winterís coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills?
††† * Another year and no raise?
††† * Did you hear the company may be cutting our health care?
††† * Now, we owe more on the house than itís worth. How are we going to send the kids to college?
††† * How are we gonna be able to retire?

Thatís the America that George Bush has left us, and thatís the future John McCain will give us. These are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who worked hard and played by the rules on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays.

That promise is the bedrock of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now itís in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain doesnít get it.

Barack Obama gets it. Like many of us, Barack worked his way up. His is a great American story.

You know, I believe the measure of a man isnít just the road heís traveled; itís the choices heís made along the way. Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his ticket to Wall Street. But thatís not what he chose to do. He chose to go to Chicago. The South Side. There he met men and women who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams deferred. Their dignity shattered. Their self-esteem gone.

And he made their lives the work of his life. Thatís what you do when youíve been raised by a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. Thatís how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, that work is more than a paycheck. Itís dignity. Itís respect. Itís about whether you can look your children in the eye and say: weíre going to be ok.

Because Barack made that choice, 150,000 more children and parents have health care in Illinois. He fought to make that happen. And because Barack made that choice, working families in Illinois pay less taxes and more people have moved from welfare to the dignity of work. He got it done.

And when he came to Washington, I watched him hit the ground running, leading the fight to pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation. He reached across party lines to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And he moved Congress and the president to give our wounded veterans the care and dignity they deserve.

You can learn an awful lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him and seeing how he reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of his mind, but even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart.

I watched how he touched people, how he inspired them, and I realized he has tapped into the oldest American belief of all: We donít have to accept a situation we cannot bear.

We have the power to change it. Thatís Barack Obama, and thatís what he will do for this country.† Heíll change it.

John McCain is my friend.† Weíve known each other for three decades.† Weíve traveled the world together.† Itís a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism John demonstrated still amaze me.

But I profoundly disagree with the direction that John wants to take the country. For example,

John thinks that during the Bush years ìweíve made great progress economically.î I think itís been abysmal.

And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time.† Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, thatís not change; thatís more of the same.

Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in historyóa half trillion dollars in the last five yearsóhe wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks.† But he voted time and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. Thatís not change; thatís more of the same.

Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. Thatís not change; thatís more of the same.

He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage.† For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, thatís not change; thatís more of the same.

And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, thatís not change; thatís more of the same.

The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver changeóthe change everybody knows we need.

Barack Obama will deliver that change.† Barack Obama will reform our tax code. Heíll cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. Thatís the change we need.

Barack Obama will transform our economy by making alternative energy a genuine national priority, creating 5 million new jobs and finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. Thatís the change we need.

Barack Obama knows that any country that out teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow. Heíll invest in the next generation of teachers. Heíll make college more affordable. Thatís the change we need.

Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typical family, and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. Thatís the change we need.

Barack Obama will put more cops on the streets, put the ìsecurityî back in Social Security and never give up until we achieve equal pay for women. Thatís the change we need.

As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out. For the last seven years, this administration has failed to face the biggest forces shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China and India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water; the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front against terrorism.

In recent days, weíve once again seen the consequences of this neglect with Russiaís challenge to the free and democratic country of Georgia. Barack Obama and I will end this neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and weíll help the people of Georgia rebuild.

Iíve been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms: this Administrationís policy has been an abject failure. America cannot afford four more years of this.

Now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama isnít ready to protect our national security. Now, let me ask you: whose judgment should we trust? Should we trust John McCainís judgment when he said only three years ago, ìAfghanistanówe donít read about it anymore because itís succeededî? Or should we trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?

The fact is, al-Qaida and the Talibanóthe people who actually attacked us on 9/11óhave regrouped in those mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks.† And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff echoed Barackís call for more troops.

John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.

Should we trust John McCainís judgment when he rejected talking with Iran and then asked: What is there to talk about? Or Barack Obama, who said we must talk and make it clear to Iran that its conduct must change.

Now, after seven years of denial, even the Bush administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran, because thatís the best way to advance our security. †

Again, John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.

Should we trust John McCainís judgment when he says there can be no timelines to draw down our troops from Iraqóthat we must stay indefinitely? Or should we listen to Barack Obama, who says shift responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home?

Now, after six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home.

John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.

Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was proven right.

Folks, remember when the world used to trust us? When they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, theyíll look to us again, theyíll trust us again, and weíll be able to lead again.

Jill and I are truly honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey. When I look at their young childrenóand when I look at my grandchildrenóI realize why Iím here. Iím here for their future.

And I am here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I am here for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workersóthe folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures.

Our greatest presidentsófrom Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedyóthey all challenged us to embrace change. Now, itís our responsibility to meet that challenge.

Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Our people are too good, our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred.

These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. Iím ready. Barack Obama is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is Americaís time.

May God bless America and protect our troops.


Joe Biden

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Joe Biden, byname of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., (born November 20, 1942, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.), 46th president of the United States (2021– ) and 47th vice president of the United States (2009–17) in the Democratic administration of Pres. Barack Obama. He previously represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate (1973–2009).


Contents

Biden announced that he would run for president in April 2019. He had tried and failed to win the nomination in 1988 and 2008. [9]

On November 7, four days after Election Day, Biden was projected to have defeated the incumbent president Donald Trump, becoming president-elect of the United States [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] with 306 of the total 538 electoral votes, and 81,268,924 popular votes versus 74,216,154 votes for Trump. Shortly afterwards, the Trump campaign launched several lawsuits against the results in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Michigan, raising unevidenced claims of widespread voter fraud that were subsequently dismissed by several courts. [15] [16]

Though Biden was generally acknowledged as the winner, [11] [12] [13] [14] General Services Administration head Emily Murphy initially refused to begin the transition to the president-elect, thereby denying funds and office space to his team. [17] [18] On November 23, after Michigan certified its results, Murphy issued the letter of ascertainment, granting the Biden transition team access to federal funds and resources for an orderly transition. [19]

Two days after becoming the projected winner of the 2020 election, Biden announced the formation of a task force to advise him on the COVID-19 pandemic during the transition, co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler, and Yale University's Marcella Nunez-Smith. [20]

On January 5, 2021, the Democratic Party won control of the United States Senate, effective January 20, as a result of electoral victories in Georgia by Jon Ossoff in a runoff election for a six-year term and Raphael Warnock in a special runoff election for a two-year term. [21] [22] President-Elect Biden had supported and campaigned for both candidates prior to the runoff elections on January 5. [23] [24]

On January 6, a mob of thousands of Trump supporters violently broke into the Capitol in the hope of overturning Biden's election, forcing Congress to evacuate during the counting of the Electoral College votes. [25] More than 26,000 National Guard members were deployed to the capital for the inauguration, with thousands remaining into the spring. [26]

On January 20, 2021, Biden was sworn in by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts as the 46th president of the United States, completing the oath of office at 11:49 AM EST, eleven minutes before the legal start of his term. [27] [28]

Inaugural address

Biden's inaugural speech laid out his vision to unite the nation, prefaced by the various impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic strife, climate change, political polarization, and racial injustice. [29] Biden called for an end to the "uncivil war" of political, demographic, and ideological American cultures through a greater embrace of diversity. [30] He cited the Civil War, Great Depression, world wars, and September 11 attacks as moments in American history where citizens' "better angels" prevailed, saying that the solution – unity – must again be invoked to rise from the "cascading" crises of the present this unity, he proclaimed, exists in the "common objects" that define America: "opportunity, liberty, dignity, respect, honor, and . truth". [31] [32] He explicitly decried white supremacy and nativism, calling them an "ugly reality" of American life he vows to defeat that clouds the "American ideal" set out in the U.S. Declaration of Independence – that all Americans are equal. [30] [32] [33] Biden pledged that the United States would "engage with the world once again" "repair our alliances" and act as a "trusted partner for peace and security". [34] Near the conclusion of his speech, Biden held a moment of silence for those who died in the COVID-19 pandemic. [31] Quoting the Gene Scheer composition "American Anthem", [35] he implored Americans to consider their legacy in answering the "call of history" to protect "democracy, hope, truth, and justice", "secure liberty", and make America a "beacon to the world", insisting that generations of their descendants will judge them on their actions. [31] The full text of Joe Biden's Inaugural Address at Wikisource.

The Biden Cabinet
OfficeNameTerm
PresidentJoe Biden2021–present
Vice PresidentKamala Harris2021–present
Secretary of StateAntony Blinken2021–present
Secretary of the TreasuryJanet Yellen2021–present
Secretary of DefenseLloyd Austin2021–present
Attorney GeneralMerrick Garland2021–present
Secretary of the InteriorDeb Haaland2021–present
Secretary of AgricultureTom Vilsack2021–present
Secretary of CommerceGina Raimondo2021–present
Secretary of LaborMarty Walsh2021–present
Secretary of Health and
Human Services
Xavier Becerra2021–present
Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development
Marcia Fudge2021–present
Secretary of TransportationPete Buttigieg2021–present
Secretary of EnergyJennifer Granholm2021–present
Secretary of EducationMiguel Cardona2021–present
Secretary of Veterans AffairsDenis McDonough2021–present
Secretary of Homeland SecurityAlejandro Mayorkas2021–present
Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency
Michael S. Regan2021–present
Director of the Office of
Management and Budget
Shalanda Young (acting)2021–present
Director of National IntelligenceAvril Haines2021–present
United States Trade RepresentativeKatherine Tai2021–present
Ambassador to the United NationsLinda Thomas-Greenfield2021–present
Chair of the
Council of Economic Advisers
Cecilia Rouse2021–present
Administrator of the
Small Business Administration
Isabel Guzman2021–present
Director of the Office of
Science and Technology Policy
Eric Lander2021–present
Chief of StaffRon Klain2021–present

On November 11, 2020, Biden selected Ron Klain, who served as his vice presidential chief of staff, to serve as his White House Chief of Staff. [36] Biden chose Jen Psaki, deputy White House press secretary and Department of State spokesperson during the presidency of Barack Obama, as his White House press secretary. Psaki announced, and has held, daily press briefings for White House reporters. On March 25, 2021, Biden held his first solo press conference after 64 days in office, [ citation needed ] unlike his most recent predecessors (back to Herbert Hoover in 1929), who all held their first solo press conferences within 33 days of taking office. [37] [38]

On November 17, 2020, Biden announced that he had selected Mike Donilon as senior advisor and Steve Ricchetti as counselor. [39] Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who had served as campaign manager for Biden's successful presidential campaign, was named as deputy chief of staff. [40]

Cabinet

President-elect Biden planned to announce his first nominees to the Cabinet before Thanksgiving 2020. [41] On November 22, 2020, several news outlets reported that Biden had selected Antony Blinken to be secretary of state, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor. [42] [43]

On November 23, 2020, Biden announced Alejandro Mayorkas to be his choice for Secretary of Homeland Security and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence. [44] Throughout December and January, Biden continued to select cabinet members, including Marty Walsh, the current mayor of Boston, as his Secretary of Labor.

Biden altered his cabinet structure, elevating the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and ambassador to the United Nations as cabinet-level positions. [45] [46] [47] Biden removed the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from his official cabinet. [48]

While administering the oath of office to hundreds of White House officials through video conferencing, Biden called for more civility in politics, saying: "If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. . No ifs, ands, or buts." [49]

Health care

The Biden administration rescinded work requirements for Medicaid recipients. [50] The administration opened a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, as well as extended the normal enrollment period citing the COVID-19 pandemic. [51] [52] The administration provided larger premium subsidies. [53]

COVID-19

On January 20, 2021, his first day as president, Biden implemented a federal mask mandate, requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors. [54] [55] [5] Biden also signed an executive order that reversed the withdrawal of the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO), making Dr. Anthony Fauci the head of the delegation to the WHO. [55] On January 21, the administration released a 200-page document titled "National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness". [56] [57] On his second day in office, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up the vaccination process and ensure the availability of glass vials, syringes, and other vaccine supplies at the federal level. [58] [59] In justifying his use of the act, Biden said, "And when I say wartime, people kind of look at me like 'wartime?' Well, as I said last night, 400,000 Americans have died. That's more than have died in all of World War II. 400,000. This is a wartime undertaking." [60] Biden furthermore established the White House COVID-19 Response Team, a White House Office dedicated to coordinating a unified federal government response.

On January 21, 2021, Biden signed ten executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. [61] In order to meet his vaccination goal of a hundred million shots in his first 100 days in office, Biden signed an executive order increasing needed supplies. [6] [62] Biden signed an order on January 21 that directed FEMA to offer full reimbursements to states for the cost of using their own National Guard personnel and emergency supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment in schools. [6] [63] On January 24, 2021, Biden reinstated a travel ban imposed by President Trump on Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and 26 other European countries. [64] [65] [66] The travel ban prevents non-U.S. Citizens living in the prospective countries from entering the United States. [67] Biden implemented a face mask requirement on nearly all forms of public transportation and inside of transportation hubs previously, the CDC had recommended that such a policy be enacted but it was blocked by the Trump administration, under which the CDC issued strong, albeit non-binding recommendations for mask use in these settings. [68]

In mid-March 2021, Biden dismissed a request by the European Union to export unused COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca out of the U.S. even though the manufacturer endorsed it and vowed to resupply the doses. The rationale for this decision – which contributed to low European vaccination rates – was that the U.S. had to be "over-supplied and over-prepared", according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. [69] Whereas the U.S. exported no vaccines, the European Union exported 77 million doses to the world from December 2020 to March 2021. [70] Eventually, the U.S. reversed course and gave vaccine doses from AstraZeneca to Mexico, Canada, and Japan by the end of March. [71]

On May 6, 2021, the administration announced that it supports waiving patent protections on existing COVID-19 vaccines so that other countries can produce generic variants, following weeks of pressure from the international community. [72] On 7 May, French president Emmanuel Macron called on the U.S. "to put an end to export bans not only on vaccines but on vaccine ingredients, which prevent production." [73]

On May 26, 2021, Biden ordered intelligence agencies to increase their investigations into the origin of the virus, following reports that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill a month before the pandemic began. [74]

Economy

On January 22, 2021, Biden signed an executive order that removed schedule F, overturning a number of Trump's policies that limited the collective bargaining power of federal unions. [75] [76] [77] Biden's executive order also promotes a $15 minimum wage for federal workers and repeals three of Trump's executive orders which made the employee discipline process stricter and restricted union representatives' access to office space. As well as promoting a $15 minimum wage, Biden's executive order increases the amount of money going to the families of children who are missing meals because of school closures due to the pandemic by 15%. [78] The repealing of Trump's three executive orders comes as the orders were used to transfer civil servants and career scientists and replace them with employees friendly to the Trump administration. [79]

Biden has called on Congress to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. This rate was lowered by the Republican's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act from 35% to 21%, so Biden's proposal represents a partial reversal. The 21% tax rate does not expire, in contrast to the individual rates, so legislation would be required to raise it. [80]

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On January 14, 2021, Biden revealed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. [81] The plan includes $1 trillion in direct aid – including $1,400 per-person checks – for working Americans, and will provide for direct housing and nutrition assistance, expanding access to safe and reliable childcare and affordable healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, and giving families with kids and childless workers an emergency boost this year. [82] [83] It will also expand the eligibility of these checks to adult dependents who have been left out of previous rounds of relief. [82] [83] [81] The plan additionally includes $440 billion in community support, providing $350 billion of community support to first responders while the rest goes to grants for small businesses and transit agencies $400 billion for a national vaccination plan and school reopenings and $10 billion for information technology, modernizing federal cybersecurity infrastructure. [81] [83] In her first press briefing, press secretary Psaki said the plan was likely to change. [84]

The plan invokes the Defense Production Act to ensure the production of personal protective equipment, glass vials, syringes, and other supplies exceeds the demand. [82] It allows partners of states to create vaccine centers in stadiums, convention centers and pharmacies. [58] The federal government will identify communities that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, and ensure the vaccine does not reach them at an unfair pace. [83] [82] [58] In addition, the plan will launch a national campaign to educate Americans about the vaccine and COVID-19, targeting misinformation related to the pandemic. [58] Vaccines will also be freely available to all citizens regardless of immigration status. [82] Also in Biden's plan, he will issue a national testing strategy that attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by increasing laboratory capacity and expanding testing. The plan will also develop new treatments for COVID-19. [82] [81] [83] [58]

No Republican in Congress voted for the American Rescue Plan. [85] While debates and negotiations over the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 were ongoing, many Republicans focused instead on culture war issues unrelated to government actions, such as the decision by the Dr. Seuss estate to stop publishing what many viewed as a racially incendiary Dr. Seuss book and the re-branding of the "Mr. Potato Head" toy. [86] Biden signed the Plan into law on March 11, 2021. [87]

Domestic manufacturing

Biden signed an executive order intended to support domestic manufacturers by increasing a federal preference for purchasing goods made wholly or partly in the United States. Using the broad term "Made in America laws", the executive order's stated goal is to strengthen "all statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders relating to Federal financial assistance awards or Federal procurement, including those that refer to 'Buy America' or 'Buy American'". [88] [89]

Trade

The Wall Street Journal reported that instead of negotiating access to Chinese markets for large American financial-service firms and pharmaceutical companies, the Biden administration may focus on trade policies that boost exports or domestic jobs. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the administration wants a "worker-centered trade policy". [90] [91] U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said she planned to aggressively enforce trade rules to combat unfair practices by China. [92]

In March 2021, in her first interview since taking office, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told The Wall Street Journal the U.S. would not lift tariffs on Chinese imports in the near future, despite lobbying efforts from "free traders" including former U.S. Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson and the Business Roundtable, a big-business group in the U.S., that pressed for tariff repeal. [93]

On March 29, 2021, the United States suspended its diplomatic trade engagement with Myanmar, which sought to help integrate the country into the global economy, following an escalation in violence perpetrated by the Burmese military against anti-coup protesters, until what Katherine Tai says would be "the return of a democratically elected government". [94]

Infrastructure

An analysis from Moody's Analytics found Biden's infrastructure plans would create 18.6 million jobs and increase average American income by $4,800 during his first term, far exceeding Trump's infrastructure proposals, which would create 11.2 million new jobs and "minimal real income gain". The analysis also found an increase in long-term economic growth, attributable to workforce size and productivity from expanded public education, health care for the elderly, and paid family leave, while Trump's restrictive immigration policies would dilute the workforce. [95] [96]

American Jobs Plan

As a part of the American Jobs Plan, the Biden administration aims for massive spending on the nation's infrastructure on the order of $2 trillion. [97]

American Families Plan

On 28 April, during Biden's speech to Congress he unveiled the American Families Plan, a roughly $1.8 trillion proposal to significantly increase federal spending in areas related to childcare, paid leave, pre-kindergarten, community college and healthcare. [98] [99] It is considered to be the second part of Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda (the first being the American Jobs Plan) and is intended to address "human infrastructure". [100]

Environment

During his first week in office, Biden established the position of White House National Climate Advisor, appointing environmental health and air quality expert Gina McCarthy to the role. Biden also created the position of U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry. [101]

On January 20, 2021, Biden signed an executive order rejoining the United States to the Paris Agreement. [102] [103] With the United States rejoining the agreement, countries responsible for two-thirds of the global greenhouse gas emission will make pledges of becoming carbon neutral, while without United States it is only half. [104] On the same day, Biden also cancelled the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an extension of the Keystone Pipeline, by signing an executive order. The pipeline was heavily criticized by environmental and Native American activists and groups. [105] [106] As a result of the executive order, TC Energy eliminated more than a thousand construction jobs both in Canada and in the United States. [107] [108] This order also directed agencies to review and reverse more than 100 actions made by Trump on the environment. [55]

On January 21, 2021, the Biden administration issued a 60-day ban on oil and gas leases and permits on federal land and waters. [109]

On January 27, 2021, Biden signed a number of executive orders aimed at combating climate change, [110] one of them setting climate change as a key consideration for U.S. national security and foreign policy. [111]

In an attempt to encourage U.S. membership to the Kigali Amendment, an international agreement aimed to reduce the production of hydrofluorocarbons, Biden's executive order directed the State Department to submit the Kigali Amendment to the Senate. [112] [113]

On March 18, 2021, attorneys general of 21 states sued the Biden administration for revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit. The suit claims Biden exceeded his authority to regulate interstate commerce by invoking the order: "The president lacks the power to enact his 'ambitious plan' to reshape the economy in defiance of Congress's unwillingness to do so." [114]

On March 27, 2021, Biden invited more than forty world leaders for a climate summit. [115]

In May 2021, the EPA rolled back a Trump administration rule that prohibited the EPA from using certain studies. [116] [117] The previous rule, which made it more difficult to use major scientific studies to justify pollution reduction policies, [118] had already been invalidated by a federal court. [119]

On June 1, 2021, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland suspended all oil and gas drilling leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, pending further review of their environmental impacts. [120]

Electoral and ethical reform

In response to what Biden describes as the growing influence of special interests and gerrymandering in elections, he has pledged to seek electoral reforms. [121] The Biden administration pledged to pass government ethics reform. [121]

Immigration

On January 20, 2021, Biden halted the construction of the U.S.–Mexico barrier [55] and ended a related national emergency declared by Trump in February 2018. [5] Biden issued a proclamation that ended the Trump travel ban imposed on predominantly Muslim countries in January 2017. [55] [5] Biden also reaffirmed protections to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. [122] The same day, Biden sent a memorandum to the U.S. Department of State reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians. [123] [124]

On January 20, 2021, the Biden administration issued a moratorium on deportations from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the first 100 days of his presidency. [125] On January 22, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration for violating Biden's written pledge to cooperatively work with the State of Texas. [126] A federal judge in Texas subsequently issued a temporary restraining order barring the Biden administration from enforcing its moratorium, citing the lack of "any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations". [127]

On January 21, 2021, Biden proposed a bill that, if passed, would replace the word alien with noncitizen in U.S. immigration law. [128] [129] The following day, Biden had a call with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. On the call, Biden and López Obrador spoke about immigration, where Biden spoke of reducing immigration from Mexico to the U.S. by targeting what Biden deemed as root causes. [130] According to an Associated Press report, López Obrador noted that Biden pledged $4 billion to "help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States". [131]

On January 23, Biden proposed an immigration bill [132] aiming to give a path to citizenship to eleven million immigrants living in the U.S. without a permanent legal status. [132] The bill would also make it easier for certain foreign workers to stay in the U.S. [133] [134] Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin called the bill "aspirational". It is widely expected not to pass both houses of Congress without significant revision. [132] [133] [134]

Biden instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus on violent offenders of immigration laws rather than all offenders of immigration laws. [135] [136]

In February 2021, it was reported that DHS agents who had been empowered by Trump to enact his anti-immigration policies were resisting and defying Biden's immigration policies. [135] The union representing ICE agents signaled that its agents would not accept reversals of Trump policies. [135]

In March 2021, the Biden administration granted Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans fleeing the country amidst the ongoing political and economic crisis. [137]

On June 1, 2021, the DHS officially terminated the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy, which mandated that all asylum seekers from Central America were to wait in Mexico pending their court cases. However, a health order from March 2020 allowed the border authorities to send migrants back for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic have remained in place. [138] [139]

Surge in unaccompanied minors

Early during Joe Biden's tenure, a surge in unaccompanied minors at the U.S. border stirred controversy. According to a 2021 Politico report, Republicans expected prior to Joe Biden taking office that there would be a border surge at the start of 2021 (due to seasonal patterns and regional crises) and coordinated to make it a central issue in the lead-up to the 2022 mid-term elections. [140] The number of migrants arriving in the United States from Central America had been rising since April 2020 due to ongoing violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in the region. [141] In February 2021, the United States Border Patrol reported a 61% increase in encounters with unaccompanied children from the month before. The reported 5,858 encounters in January to 9,457 in February constituted the largest one-month percentage increase in encounters with unaccompanied children since U.S. Customs and Border Protection began recording data in 2010. [142] [143] [144] By the end of April 2021, the number of children held in Border Patrol facilities fell by 84%, placing them under HHS care. [145]

On March 24, 2021, Biden tasked Vice President Harris to reduce the number of unaccompanied minors and adult asylum seekers. She is also tasked with leading the negotiations with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. [146]

Social issues

During his early days in office, Biden focused on "advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity". According to The New York Times, Biden's early actions in office focused on racial equality more than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [147] On January 25, 2021, Biden signed an executive order that lifted the ban on transgender military service members. [148] This reversed a memorandum imposed by Trump. [149]

The Biden administration is seeking to put Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill. [150] [151] This effort follows that of the Obama administration, which was blocked by Steven Mnuchin. [152] Press secretary Psaki said it was important that U.S. money and notes reflect the "history and diversity" of the country and that putting Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill would do so. [153]

On January 20, the Biden administration issued an Executive Order entitled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government [154] increasing the federal government's anti-bias enforcement against government contractors. The intent is heightened investigations by the Department of Justice, more thorough audits, and more detailed follow-up inquiries with government contractors, with an emphasis on combatting pay discrimination. [155]

On January 26, Biden directed the Department of Justice to reduce their usage of private prisons and ordered the attorney general to not renew contracts with private prisons, citing the need to "reduce profit-based incentives" for the incarceration of racial minorities. [156] GEO Group considered the policy "a solution in search of a problem". David Fathi, the director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the executive order did not fully end America's usage of private prisons. [157] [158]

On March 19, Biden and Vice President Harris travelled to Atlanta and spoke to Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates and leaders while condemning 2021 Atlanta shootings caused by racism, sexism and hate. [159]

On June 17, Biden signed into law a bill creating Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The day celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. [160]

Criminal justice

The Biden administration rescinded a Trump administration policy that curtailed the use of consent decrees that had been used by previous administrations in their investigations of misconduct in police departments. [161]

Gun control

Following the 2021 Boulder shooting, Biden advocated for further gun regulations, such as a restored ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as reinforcing preexisting background checks, in a national address delivered on March 23. He had made no mention of gun control following the Atlanta spa shootings, the week prior. [162] [163]

Space policy

On February 4, 2021, the White House announced a change from the Trump administration's method of using the National Space Council to coordinate commercial, civil, and military space policies, instead of using the National Security Council for the same purpose. This means national security memoranda will replace the Space Council's space policy directives. As of February 5, it was not known whether or not the Biden administration will keep the Space Council. A coalition of 17 industry groups lobbied Chief of Staff Ron Klain to keep it. [164]

In the February 4 press briefing, Psaki expressed the Biden administration's support of the Artemis program to send people back to the Moon, though no details about funding levels or adherence to the 2024 first landing goal were given. [165]

On March 19, 2021, Biden announced his intent to nominate Bill Nelson as NASA administrator to replace Jim Bridenstine. [166]

On April 9, 2021, as part of his overall budget request, Biden proposed a $24.7 billion budget for NASA in 2022, a $1.5 billion increase on what Congress allocated to 2021. [167] The proposal includes funding for the Artemis program, which is the NASA plan for a new moon landing. [167]

Defense

On January 22, 2021, Biden signed his first bill, [168] H.R. 335 into law, providing a waiver to the law preventing appointment of a Secretary of Defense who, within the past seven years, had been on active duty in the armed forces. [169] This was the third time such a waiver was granted by Congress. Retired army four-star general Lloyd Austin was confirmed by the Senate in a 93–2 vote that same day, making Austin the first African American Defense Secretary. [170] [168]

Austin has said his number one priority is to assist COVID-19 relief efforts, pledging he would "quickly review the Department's contributions to coronavirus relief efforts, ensuring that we're doing everything that we can to help distribute vaccines across the country and to vaccinate our troops and preserve readiness". [171]

On February 10, 2021, Biden visited the Pentagon for the first time as president. [172] In remarks to service members alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Biden announced a Department of Defense-led China task force to "to provide a baseline assessment of department policies, programs and processes in regard to the challenge China poses". [173]

On June 18, 2021, The administration removed eight Patriot anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Iraq, removed the THAAD anti-missile defense system from Saudi Arabia, and announced that most jet squadrons and hundreds of American troops will be withdrawn from the region. The changes come in light of both de-escalating tensions with Iran and the administration changing its focus on countering China. [174]

China

Biden has said the U.S. needs to "get tough" on China and build "a united front of U.S. allies and partners to confront China's abusive behaviors and human rights violations". [175] He described China as the "most serious competitor" that poses challenges on the "prosperity, security, and democratic values" of the U.S. [176]

Biden nominated Antony Blinken to serve as Secretary of State who took office on January 26, 2021. [177] [178] During his nomination hearing, Blinken said that previous optimistic approaches to China were flawed, [179] and that Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, "was right in taking a tougher approach to China", but that he "disagree[s] very much with the way [Trump] went about it in a number of areas". [178] He endorsed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's report that China is committing a genocide against Uyghur Muslims. [178]

In March 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other administration officials met with the Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, and other Chinese officials in Alaska with heated exchanges on China's human rights abuses, cyberattacks, its threats against Taiwan, its crackdown in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and other issues of U.S. interest. The Chinese side countered, "The U.S. does not have the qualification to speak to China from a position of strength [and] does not serve as a model to others [and] China's development and strengthening is unstoppable." [180] [181]

The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration got "a taste of China's 'wolf warrior' diplomacy" during the first meeting with its Chinese counterpart, which was "remarkably undiplomatic", adding "China's diplomats appeared more forceful than they had been in any public meeting during President Trump's term." [182] The Atlantic published an article saying that the Biden team "flushed Beijing's true intentions out into the open for the world to see", quoting a senior administration official's comment that it is "increasingly difficult to argue that we don't know what China wants". [183]

In April 2021, it was reported that the Biden administration was rallying U.S. allies in consideration of a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price told reporters that a joint boycott "is something that we certainly wish to discuss". [184]

In May 2021, the administration removed Chinese mobile manufacturer Xiaomi from the Chinese military blacklist, reversing the previous administration's decision. [185]

On June 3, 2021, Biden announced an executive order that will come into effect from August 2, would ban Americans from investing into 59 Chinese firms, including Huawei. Before it was announced, China said it would retaliate against it. [186]

Afghanistan

President Biden formally announced the full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, ending the U.S.'s longest war. [187]

Armenian genocide

On April 24, 2021, the Biden administration declared that the Turkish killings of Armenians at the start of the 20th century were a genocide. He is the first US president to ever officially recognize the Armenian genocide. [188]

Quad and the Indo-Pacific region

In March 2021, Biden held a virtual meeting with leaders of Japan, India and Australia, an alliance of countries known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad, that work together to address China's expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region. [189] [190] A few days later, the administration officials, including secretary of state Antony Blinken and secretary of defense Lloyd Austin, met with U.S. allies in Asia and imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials. [191] [180] Austin also visited India to deepen the defense ties between the two countries. [190]

Russia

On the day of Biden's inauguration, the Russian government urged the new U.S. administration to take a "more constructive" approach in talks over the extension of the 2010 New START treaty, the sole remaining agreement limiting the number of U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear warheads. [192] In Biden's first telephone call as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on January 26, 2021, Biden and Putin agreed to extend the New START treaty (which was set to expire in February 2021) by an additional five years. [193]

Biden and his administration condemned human rights violations by the Russian authorities, calling for the release of detained dissident and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, his wife, and the thousands of Russians who had demonstrated in his support the U.S. called for the unconditional release of Navalny and the protestors and a credible investigation into Navalny's poisoning. [194] [195] [196] On March 2, 2021, the U.S. and European Union imposed coordinated additional sanctions on Russian officials, as well as the FSB and GRU, over Navalny's poisoning and imprisonment. The State Department also expanded existing sanctions from the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act that had been imposed after the poisoning of Skripal. [197]

The Biden administration is also planning to impose sanctions against Russia because of the 2020 SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign, which compromised the computer systems of nine federal agencies. [198] Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the response "will include a mix of tools seen and unseen, and it will not simply be sanctions." [198] [197]

The Biden administration's comprehensive review into Russian activities has included an examination of reports that the Russian government offered bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. [199] [200] The Biden administration said intelligence community has only "low to moderate" confidence in reports due to the fact that the bounty reports originated from "detainee reporting and because of the difficult operating environment in Afghanistan". [201] [202]

Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "killer" in an ABC News interview, and said that Russia will pay a price for election meddling. [203]

On May 19, 2021, the administration lifted CAATSA sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project between Russia and Germany. Despite Biden's personal opposition to the project, the U.S. State Department says that it concluded that it was in the "U.S. national interest" to waive the sanctions. [204] Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov welcomed the move as "a chance for a gradual transition toward the normalisation of our bilateral ties". [204]

On June 16, 2021, Biden met with Putin in Geneva, Switzerland. The two presidents discussed a number of topics, including stable policy on climate change, nuclear proliferation, and cybersecurity. Russia's activities regarding Ukraine, Alexei Navalny, Belarus, and nationals jailed in each other's countries. The summit was significantly shorter than expected, only lasting three and a half of the predicted five hours. [205] Putin praised Biden as a knowledgeable and shrewd negotiator the next day. [206] [207]

Europe

President Biden promised to repair "strained" relationships with European allies in contrast to his predecessor Trump. "An attack on one is an attack on all. That is our unshakeable vow," Biden said, referring to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (the mutual defense clause). [208] Biden pledged support for the European project and for Ukraine's sovereignty, as well as the need for global cooperation on fighting the pandemic and climate change. [209]

The Biden administration has expressed interest in re-engaging with Iran on the Iran nuclear deal. Biden's predecessor, President Trump, withdrew from the deal in 2018, resulting in swift backlash from international community. [210] [211] Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would be interested in re-entering the agreement so long as Iran shows "strict compliance". [212]

On February 25, 2021, President Biden ordered retaliatory airstrikes on buildings in Syria that the Department of Defense said were used by Iranian-backed militias to carry out rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq. The operation was the first known use of military force by the Biden administration. [7] The attacks prompted condemnation from many Democratic members of Congress. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia questioned the administration's "legal justification for acting without coming to Congress". Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) claimed, "the Administration should have sought Congressional authorization." [213]

Myanmar

On February 1, 2021, Biden condemned the Myanmar coup d'état and called for the release of detained officials. Biden also left open the door to re-imposing sanctions on the country, saying in a statement that "[t]he United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action." [214]

On March 5, 2021, Biden imposed sanctions on Myanmar's Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence and certain junta conglomerates. [215] On March 22, 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions on several military generals in response to a violent crackdown on peaceful protests. [216]

Northern Ireland

Biden has reiterated his commitment to maintaining peace in Northern Ireland by resisting the possibility of a hard border as a result of Brexit. When asked by The Irish Times in March 2021 about comments made by Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney that the UK "cannot be trusted" on the Northern Ireland protocol, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, "President Biden has been unequivocal about his support for the Good Friday Agreement." As part of his own Irish-American heritage, Psaki said that Biden "has a special place in his heart for the Irish" underpinning his commitment to Northern Ireland's peace. [217]

Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Biden ordered a halt in the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which the Trump administration had previously agreed to. [218] Two years after Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence under Biden's administration, announced that the intelligence report into the case against Saudi Arabia's government will be declassified. It was reported that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be blamed for the murder, as was concluded by the CIA. [219]

On February 4, 2021, the Biden administration announced that the United States was ending its support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. President Biden in his first visit to the State Department as president said "this war has to end" and that the conflict has created a "humanitarian and strategic catastrophe". [220] However, the details of the end of American involvement in the war have yet to be released as of April 2021. [221]

Worldwide LGBT rights

On February 4, 2021, Biden issued a presidential memorandum for expanding protection of the LGBTQI rights worldwide, which includes the possibility to impose financial sanctions. [222]

As of February 2021 [update] , opinion polls have found that Biden's approval ratings have been steadier than Trump's, with an average approval rating of 55% and an average disapproval rate of 39%. [223] Biden's approval ratings have been more polarized than Trump's, with 98% of Democrats, 61% of independents and 11% of Republicans approving of Biden's presidency in February 2021, a party gap of 87%. [224] Around the end of his first hundred days in office Joe Biden's approval rating was higher than Trump's, but was the third worst since the presidency of Harry S. Truman. [225] [226]


Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Shaky Unity of the Democratic National Convention

On Day Two of the Democratic National Convention, the Party’s recent past kept ghosting in and out. Before the networks had even begun their broadcasts, the Party rolled through half a century of its own history: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, from Georgia, and then Caroline Kennedy and her son in front of the unpainted shingles of a Cape Cod home, and, finally, Bill Clinton, sitting on a flowered couch at his home in Chappaqua, New York. Clinton and Joe Biden form generational bookends—one moderate icon hailing another. But there was nothing especially historic, or historical, about Clinton’s praise of the nominee. His account leaned on Biden’s role in the Obama Administration’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. “Joe helped bring us back from a recession before, and he can do it again,” Clinton said. The Party’s political history of its candidate had been somewhat radically shortened, so that it began in 2008.

Is this still the Party that Clinton remade? Five prerecorded minutes, broadcast early on the second night of the Convention, indicated that his personal influence has waned. Ideologically, too, Democrats have drifted away from him: any talk of triangulation was largely left to the dissident Republicans who spoke on both Monday and Tuesday evenings. But, in other ways during the lead-up to the nomination of a Presidential candidate born in 1942 to challenge an incumbent born in 1946, older Democrats’ hold on their party’s politics remained strong—and not only in the frequency of Springsteen tracks. Biden, whose instinct has often been to seek out the center of his own party, once followed a moderate, Clintonite path, and the project of remaking him during this past year’s long primary campaign was one of suppressing those earlier stands: for the crime bill of 1994 for the Iraq war in 2003 and, above all, during the seventies, against court-mandated school desegregation. The Democrats who gave Biden the nomination seemed to want a familiar candidate, but actually nominating him has required eliding much of his political history.

Clinton’s ascendance, a generation ago, didn’t just mean a preference for pragmatism. It meant a belief in the transformative powers of youth. The Democratic Party of the nineteen-eighties—of Walter Mondale, Dick Gephardt, Dan Rostenkowski, and Geraldine Ferraro—was a traditional operation, dependent on political machines in declining cities and the workingman politics of big unions. The Party that Clinton celebrated at the 2000 Democratic National Convention—a handheld camera tracking him for over a minute as he strode through the bowels of the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, on his way to the podium—had been remade in his image: telegenic, optimistic, assured of its own expertise. The Democrats are still (relative to Republicans) the party of the future, but now the vision belongs to the Parkland survivors and the Sunrise Movement and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—another generational talent who is seen by her opponents as a media persona and by her supporters as a serious policy entrepreneur, a preternaturally talented political figure who arrives with white papers and twelve-point plans.

On Tuesday, the Party gave Ocasio-Cortez only the brief role of seconding the symbolic nomination of Bernie Sanders. She used it to dwell on some recent history that the Party might have been happy to paper over. Ocasio-Cortez praised the “mass people’s movement” behind Sanders’s campaign: “a movement striving to repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny, and homophobia, and to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past.” Was she speaking from inside the Democratic tradition or outside it? She didn’t mention Biden once.

Ocasio-Cortez is often said to embody a generational break with senior Democrats. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party,” she told New York, in January. But she also represents a suppressed strain. Watch the network coverage of the 1988 Democratic Convention and you’ll find that the standout performer wasn’t Michael Dukakis, whose acceptance speech was dull, or Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, who spoke for thirty-three minutes and “completely lost this crowd,” in the words of Chris Matthews, then a young NBC reporter on the floor. (Biden, who was feuding with Dukakis’s campaign, missed the Convention because he was recovering from surgery for a brain aneurysm.) The obvious star was Jesse Jackson, then forty-six and the embodiment of a rising multiracial progressivism, having won nearly seven million votes and eleven contests in the primaries. “For almost eight years, we’ve been led by those who view social good coming from private interest, who view public life as a means to increase private wealth,” Jackson said. “We believe in a government that is a tool of our democracy, not an instrument of the aristocracy in search of private wealth.” Of all the talented speakers at that Convention, it was Jackson who would fit seamlessly onto the virtual stage of 2020.

In 1988, as the baby boomers took over the Party, Clinton’s vision represented a viable electoral proposition, and Jackson’s didn’t. Now, having spent much of his career working in a party that was dominated by the Clintonite wing, Biden finds himself the standard-bearer at a moment when leading the Party means undoing that choice—to identify the Democratic Party fully with the Black Lives Matter movement, to take a more combative stance on capital and wealth, to supplant Clinton’s legacy with Jackson’s.

That’s a big job for any politician. Perhaps it’s too big for this campaign. What the Biden operation has chosen instead is to include what it can’t reconcile. The work of embodying this reconciliation, on Tuesday night, fell to Jill Biden, who isn’t a politician at all, and whose speech, taped at a Delaware high school where she once taught, closed the evening. Neither the Biden campaign nor Jill Biden specialize in subtlety. “You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways,” she said. “There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors. The rooms are dark as the bright young faces that should fill them are now confined to boxes on a computer screen.” The political past had been displaced by the macabre present: “The indescribable sorrow that follows every lonely last breath, when the ventilators turn off.”

Joe Biden isn’t nearly as dextrous a politician as Clinton or Barack Obama, each of whom found ways to unite the cosmopolitanism of the Democratic governing classes with the suffering of working people. The hope for Biden, in the general election, is that he might substitute that skill with his own blunt experience of loss. If Clinton felt your pain, Biden might wear his own on his face. The biographical video introducing Jill Biden emphasized the circumstances under which they met: he was a thirty-year-old senator who had recently lost his wife and infant daughter in a car accident that seriously injured his two sons. “How do you make a broken family whole?” Jill Biden asked. “The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding and with small acts of kindness.”

At the end of the video, Joe Biden appeared in the classroom, “surprising” his wife with a kiss, a mask dangling from his hand. Biden may well be the last liberal of his generation to be nominated for President, and what his candidacy has shed, above all, is the old Clintonite triumphalism. The official theme of the night was repair, and this, too, has a generational element. Biden is asking for the chance to fix what his generation has broken.


FACT CHECK: Did Joe Biden Never Get More Than 1 Percent When He Ran For President?

President Donald Trump said that former Vice President Joe Biden never got more than 1 percent of the vote when he ran for president.

Verdict: Unsubstantiated

Biden has never campaigned for president in a general election, but he has competed unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party nomination twice.

Trump&rsquos claim is worded vaguely, leaving it open to interpretation. While Biden never earned more than 1 percent of the delegate count at a party convention, he did get more than 1 percent of the vote in a couple of state primaries during the 2008 presidential race.

Trump cited Biden&rsquos presidential election record after he said that he would like to run against him in the 2020 presidential election.

&ldquoI dream about Biden. That&rsquos a dream,&rdquo Trump said in an interview with CBS News on July 19. &ldquoLook, Joe Biden ran three times. He never got more than 1 percent, and President Obama took him out of the garbage heap, and everybody was shocked that he did.&rdquo

Biden actively campaigned for president in the 1988 and 2008 election cycles. He thought about campaigning for president in 1984, and even filled out paperwork for his candidacy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

But he ultimately decided not to submit the paperwork. &ldquoI had no intention of running in 1984, and the people closest to me knew that,&rdquo Biden wrote in his 2007 memoir.

Nonetheless, Biden still got one delegate vote in support of naming him the Democratic Party nominee for president at the 1984 Democratic National Convention &ndash 0.03 percent of the vote.

He officially campaigned to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 1988 cycle, but withdrew from the race in September 1987 before there were any primaries or caucuses. News stories published in the days leading up his withdrawal showed that parts of Biden&rsquos speeches were similar to passages in other public figures&rsquo speeches and revealed that he had plagiarized an article while in law school at Syracuse University.

Biden said that he had misunderstood the rules of citation when he committed plagiarism, according to files in his law school records. As for the speeches, aides said that they meant to include attribution in one of them and that he was paying homage to historical leaders in others.

Despite dropping out of the race, Biden got two votes &ndash 0.05 percent &ndash when delegates at the 1988 Democratic National Convention chose the party&rsquos nominee for president.

Biden sought the Democratic presidential nomination again 20 years later in 2008. After coming in fifth place in the 2008 Iowa Caucus on Jan. 3, earning 0.9 percent of the vote, he withdrew from the race.

Biden did get more than 1 percent of the vote in a couple of state primaries after he had suspended his campaign, however. He got 3 percent of the vote in Delaware &ndash his home state &ndash on Feb. 5. In the Louisiana primary on Feb. 9, he earned 1.6 percent of the vote.

Somewhat ambiguously, Trump said that Biden &ldquonever got more than 1 percent.&rdquo If he was referring to Democratic primaries, then his claim is incorrect. But if Trump was thinking of Biden&rsquos performance in the 1984, 1988 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions, then he is correct. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Former President Barack Obama, then a senator, later chose Biden to be his running mate in 2008. Biden became his party&rsquos nominee for vice president at the 2008 Democratic National Convention by acclamation, with no votes cast, and he did not receive any delegate votes for president at the convention. Obama and Biden were elected president and vice president in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

Biden told the Los Angeles Times that he planned on entering the 2016 presidential race but decided not to because his adult son Beau Biden passed away in 2015 after battling brain cancer.

Though he performed poorly in presidential contests, Joe Biden has successfully run for state and local office. He served as a senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009 after unseating incumbent Republican Sen. J. Caleb Boggs in the 1972 election and won six re-election races. Before his Senate career, Biden served as a New Castle County councilman.

Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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Teaching Career

Jill Biden earned two master’s degrees, in education (with a specialty in reading) from West Chester University in 1981 and in English from Villanova University in 1987, while teaching adolescents at a psychiatric hospital. She later taught for years at Claymont High School, Brandywine High School and Delaware Technical and Community College.

Biden returned to the University of Delaware to pursue her doctorate in education, which she earned in 2007. Meanwhile, her husband was re-elected to the Senate five times, and ran unsuccessfully for president twice, in 1988 and 2008, before Barack Obama, the eventual Democratic nominee in 2008, chose him as his running mate.


11 things Joe Biden must do for a successful Democratic convention, according to experts

TORONTO -- It’s a national party convention like no other in history with the Democratic Party feting its presumptive White House ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris entirely virtually for four days.

The devastation of COVID-19 means no balloons, cheering crowds, or waving signs as the party formally endorses its nominees. But experts say that may mean less theatre and more persuasion as the party works to energize and mobilize its base, polish its message, sway some undecideds and even woo some disaffected Republicans.

Experts predict the two hours of televised events each night until Thursday will be something of an infomercial, less built around the electricity of addressing rabid supporters and more about directly connecting with voters both inside and outside the Democratic party.

Biden, who leads in some polls by 9 points, will deliver his acceptance speech Thursday.

CTVNews.ca asked three political experts what the Democrats need to focus on to set its ticket on a path to victory Nov. 3.

Define Biden as a president

After eight years serving as vice-president to former president Barack Obama, Biden is widely known but many don’t know much about him, says Brad Bannon, a Democratic political consultant and pollster based in Washington, D.C.

The campaign needs to define who Biden is and what he brings to the table. “They have to make strong points about why he’d be a good president. It can’t just be about beating up on Donald Trump,” Bannon told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.

Put Harris in the forefront

The Democratic vice-presidential nominee and California senator ticks a lot of boxes for many Democrats. She’s a woman, she’s Black and Asian, and she’s well-educated and outspoken.

She vigorously challenged Biden in a presidential candidate debate before she dropped out of the race in December, said Bannon. “I think that shows that Biden is comfortable with strong, aggressive women… If Biden wins it will come with overwhelming support from women.”

One possible downside for Harris is her background as a district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general in California. In the context of the protests around Black Lives Matter and defunding police, that could alienate some leftist Democrats.

Be succinct, clear and thoughtful

Trump is invigorated by cheering crowds at his rallies. Biden and Harris need to shine in a quiet, almost one-on-one environment, speaking directly to Americans. Speeches will be short and Harris, who is an eloquent speaker, will be used as an advantage, says Bannon.

“Instead of a single, long-winded keynote on Wednesday, there will be 17 speakers speaking for a minute about why they support Biden and Harris.” And though shorter, without the long pauses for applause, speeches may have more substance.

Capitalize on Biden’s image

If the Democrats can take advantage of Biden’s image as “kindly uncle Joe” and develop him as a calm, reassuring and knowledgeable leader, that will paint a picture at odds with Trump, said Graham Dodds, who grew up in the U.S. and is a professor of political science at Concordia University in Montreal specializing in American politics.

The campaign will also repeatedly highlight Biden’s connection to former president Barack Obama, who remains very popular with Democrats, he told CTVNews.ca.

Address the age issue

There has been plenty of talk of Biden’s age (at 78 next January, he would be the oldest president ever to take office, though it’s worth noting he’s less than four years older than Trump) and Republicans, often led by Trump, are trying to make an issue of what they say are declining faculties and lack of stamina. This convention is a chance to take that on, said Renan Levine, who grew up in Philadelphia and now is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

But if there are gaffes and missteps, they will be costly, he told CTVNews.ca.

Bannon says Biden’s age and demeanour can be turned into an advantage. “I think one of the reasons Biden has an advantage over Trump is that Americans are tired of anger and division. The best message for Biden is that he would be a president with a bold plan and a steady hand.”

‘Jazz up’ young voters

This year’s virtual format will be more appealing to young voters, said Bannon, and that’s a key demographic for the Democrats. “Millennials are much more likely to engage online than they are with traditional TV. In fact, I think we may have seen the last of traditional, in-person conventions.”

And equally critical, said Levine, is amplifying their message amid a social media firestorm in which Democrats must consistently bat away an onslaught of counter-messages from the Trump administration, the Republican party, Trump supporters and the president himself.

Remember the pocketbook

Trump may have felt at the beginning of the year that things looked very good for his re-election, but the economic devastation of COVID-19 has changed all that, says Levine. “Trump’s popularity is weak and many Republicans are upset by his actions and his style of governance. So now you add the negative economic outcomes and that means Democrats have to all push the message that change needs to happen.”

But the economy could be considered Biden’s Achille’s heel, says Bannon. Polls show he holds significant advantages over Trump among Americans when it comes to fighting the pandemic, and handling race issues, the environment and health care. But Trump comes out on top on the economy.

“The old saw is still true, that people vote with their pocketbook. So the Democrats need to come out with a strong message about rebuilding the economy.”

Don’t go over the top

There is a significant portion of Americans who don’t appreciate attacks on the Oval Office, no matter who occupies it, says Levine. “So if you attack the office too much, it can create a backlash among those kinds of voters or moderates.”

Biden needs to take the high ground, presenting a calm and dignified demeanour, leaving more pointed assaults against Trump for other Democrats, and disaffected Republicans.

Then there is the question of what to criticize. Do you choose a scattershot approach or do you focus on one or two issues to hammer home? For the Republicans in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s emails became a rallying cry, whereas nothing in a series of scandals and gaffes for Trump ever seriously took hold, says Levine.

Build on the ‘country-before-party’ message of a faction of the Republic Party

This convention includes the unusual spectacle of endorsements from members of the opposing party, including former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich. It’s not unheard of – Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York City, spoke at the Democratic convention in 2016 and Joe Lieberman, a Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2000, endorsed Republican candidate John McCain in 2008.

But still, in the history of conventions it’s “exceptionally rare” for prominent party members to appear at an opposing convention, says Levine. Some Republicans have been outspoken about their anyone-but-Trump stance.

The danger is that in trying to appeal too much to some elements of Republicans, the Democrats could further alienate progressives within their party who were lined up behind Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, says Dodds.

“So far, Biden seems to be doing a good job of keep the factions of the Democratic party together… that certainly was a lesson learned out of Clinton’s loss.”

Forget the undecideds

Only an estimated 4 to 5 per cent of American voters say they are undecided, says Levine, and given how highly polarized the country is, that means they are likely indifferent or unengaged. Instead, Democrats should focus on mobilizing their own base first, with a secondary eye on creating messages that will appeal to Republicans who don’t support Trump.

Biden and Harris, largely seen as centrist Democrats, have a real change to make significant inroads, says Levine.

Remember 2016

Many Democrats, especially the activist wing of the party, are “haunted by what happened in 2016,” says Levine. “There’s a little bit of ‘I told you so,’ from those Democrats who warned of the problems of the party before Donald Trump was elected.”

The sting of that loss, especially after being up six points in polls, will keep the Democrats fighting for every vote this time, says Dodds. “It’s not lost on anybody that Trump can afford to lose a couple of states he took last time, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, and still win it all.”

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrive to speak at a news conference at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


The 48-Year Journey of Joe Biden's Democratic Party

The 2020 Democratic National Convention is the 12th Joe Biden has attended. He&rsquos just missed one since 1972: the 1988 convention in Atlanta, when he was recovering from surgery for a brain aneurysm. That convention ended a cycle that began with Biden making his first race for president, abandoned in embarrassment when it turned out he had cribbed lines from a British Labour Party leader&rsquos speeches. His second presidential campaign, in 2008, ended more satisfactorily, with his selection as Barack Obama&rsquos running mate and his election and reelection as vice-president. But even by then it was obvious the Democratic Party had undergone remarkable changes during Biden&rsquos career &mdash changes that have actually intensified since 2008.

In 1972, the Senate Democratic Conference Biden was about to join famously included notorious racists like Jim Eastland and Herman Talmadge. The Senate itself was under the gavel of Vice-President Spiro Agnew, soon to resign after being caught taking cash bribes in the White House. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was a fresh memory, the Watergate scandal was an ongoing development, and the Vietnam War was still raging with some Democrats as well as Republicans still supporting it.

Later in the 1970s, Democrats sought to thwart the Republican southern strategy by running for president native Georgian Jimmy Carter, whom Biden supported strongly, and by retreating from the more unpopular forms of school desegregation, which Biden stridently opposed. In the 1980s, Democrats rethought the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society in ways that sometimes seemed innovative but sometimes left Democratic constituencies behind, and Biden was one of those early &ldquoneoliberals.&rdquo When Bill Clinton and his New Democrats came along to embrace the &ldquoeconomic aspirations and cultural values&rdquo of the &ldquoforgotten middle class,&rdquo Joe Biden was totally onboard. At the 1996 convention, Biden got his first featured prime-time address as the proud author of that mixed legislative bag, the 1994 Crime Bill. By 2000, he joined other Democrats in excoriating Bill Clinton&rsquos sexual misconduct, and by the next convention, he and many other party leaders were defending votes for the Iraq War.

But all those many years, Biden also supported civil rights and voting rights, stood up for unions, defended Social Security and Medicare, and in a thousand ways identified with the working people with whom he had grown up. By the time he was dubbed for a national ticket, he represented every core strength his party retained, and every mistake it had made, over many decades. And he continued to evolve as Barack Obama&rsquos vice-president, often serving as a counselor against military adventures and a loyal friend of the Democratic rank and file.

It&rsquos somehow appropriate, then, that Joe Biden finally won his party&rsquos presidential nomination thanks to unshakable support from the Black Democrats who might have had reason to mistrust him but who believed he could redeem his party and country as he had redeemed himself.


Transcript: Vice President Biden's Convention Speech

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday.

Hey, Delaware. (Cheers, applause.) Hello, my fellow Democrats. (Cheers, applause.)

And my favorite Democrat, Jilly, I want you to know that Beau and Hunt and Ashley and I — we're so incredibly proud of you, kid. You know, we admire the way — they way that when every single solitary young person — and they're not all young — walk into your classroom, you not only teach them, you give them confidence.

You give me confidence. And the passion — the passion she brings to trying to ease the burden on the families of our warriers. Jilly, they know you understand them. And that makes a gigantic difference. (Cheers, applause.)

And folks, I tell you what, it was worth the trip to hear my wife say what I've never heard her say before: She's always loved me. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) If that's the case, why in the heck did it take five times of asking you? And that's true. Five times. I don't know what I would have done, kiddo, had you on that fifth time said no. (Laughter.) I love you. You're the love of my life and the life of my love. (Cheers, applause.)

We've got three incredible kids. And Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in nomination to be vice president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) I accept. (Sustained cheers, applause.) I accept. With great honor and pleasure, I accept. Thank you. Thank you, my fellow Democrats. (Cheers, applause.)

Thank you, my fellow Democrats. (Cheers, applause.)

And I say to my fellow Americans: My fellow Americans, four years ago a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past and turned to a leader who they knew would lift our nation out of the crisis — a journey — a journey we haven't finished yet. We know we still have more to do. But today I say to my fellow citizens: In the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetime, this generation of Americans has proven itself as worthy as any generation before us. (Cheers, applause.) For we present that same grit, that same determination, that same courage that has always defined what it means to be an American, has always defined all of you. Together we're on a mission. We're on a mission to move this nation forward from doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity, a mission I guarantee you we will complete — (cheers, applause) — a mission we will complete.

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Democratic National Convention, from PBS NewsHour.

PBS NewsHour YouTube

Folks, tonight what I really want to do is tell you about my friend Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) No one could tell it as well or as eloquently as Michelle — as you did last night, Michelle — Monday night. (Cheers, applause.) But I know him, to state the obvious, from a different perspective.

I know him, and I want to show you — I want to show you the character of a leader who had what it took when the American people literally stood on the brink of a new depression, a leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as great as our people. I want to take you inside the White House to see the president as I see him every day, because I don't see him in soundbites. I walk 30 paces down the hall into the Oval Office, and I see him, I watch him in action.

Four years ago the middle class was already losing ground, and then the bottom fell out. The financial crisis hit like a sledgehammer on all the people I grew up with. You remember the headlines. You saw some of them in the previews. Highlight: Highest job losses in 60 years. Headlines: Economy on the brink markets plummet worldwide.

From the very moment President Obama sat behind the desk, resolute, in the Oval Office, he knew — he knew he had not only to restore the confidence of a nation, but he had to restore the confidence of the whole world. (Cheers, applause.) And he also knew — he also knew that one, one false move could bring a run on the banks or a credit collapse to put another several million people out of work. America and the world needed a strong president with a steady hand and with the judgment and vision to see us through.

Day after day, night after night I sat beside him as he made one gutsy decision after the other to stop the slide and reverse it. I watched him. (Applause.) I watched him stand up. I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down enormous, enormous challenges, the consequences of which were awesome.

But most of all, I got to see firsthand what drove this man: his profound concern for the average American. He knew — he knew that no matter how tough the decisions he had to make were in that Oval Office, he knew that families all over America sitting at their kitchen tables were literally making decisions for their family that were equally as consequential.

You know, Barack and I, we've been through a lot together these four years, and we learned about one another, a lot about one another. And one of the things I learned about Barack is the enormity of his heart. And I think he learned about me the depth of my loyalty to him. (Cheers, applause.)

And there's another thing, another thing that has bound us together these past four years. We had a pretty good idea what all those families, all you Americans in trouble were going through, in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.

Barack as a young man had to sit at the end of his mother's hospital bed and watch her fight with her insurance company at the very same time she was fighting for her life.

When I was a young kid in third grade, I remember my dad coming up the stairs in my grandpop's house where we were living, sitting at the end of my bed, and saying, Joey, I'm going to have to leave for a while. Gone — go down to Wilmington, Delaware, with Uncle Franks. They're good jobs down there, honey. And in a little while — a little while, I'll be able to send for you and mom and Jimmy and Val, and everything's going to be fine.

For the rest of our life, my sister and my brothers, for the rest of our life, dad never failed to remind us that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about — (applause) — it's about your dignity. (Cheers, applause.) It's about respect. It's about your place in the community. It's about being able to look your child in the eye and say, honey, it's going to be OK, and mean it, and know it's true. (Cheers, applause.)

When Barack and I — when Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding in America that if you took responsibility, you'd get a fair shot at a better life. And the values — the values behind that bargain were the values that shaped both of us, and many, many of you. And today those same values are Barack's guiding star. Folks, I've watched him. He has never wavered.

He never, never backs down. He always steps up, and he always asks in every one of those critical meetings the same fundamental question: How is this going to affect the average American? How is this going to affect people's lives? (Cheers, applause.) That's what's inside this man. That's what makes him tick. That's who he is.

And folks, because of the decisions he has made, and the incredible strength of the American people, America has turned a corner. The worst job loss since the Great Depression, we've since created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 25 — 29 months. (Cheers, applause.)

Look, folks. President Obama and Governor Romney, they're both — they're both loving husbands. They're both devoted fathers. But let's be straight. They bring a vastly different vision and a vastly different values set to the job. (Applause.)

And tonight — tonight, although you've heard people talk about it, I want to talk about two things from a slightly different perspective, from my perspective. I'd like to focus on two crises and show you — show you the character of leadership that each man will bring to this job, because as I said, I've had a ringside seat. The first of these a lot's been talked about.

And God love Jennifer Granholm. Wasn't she great? (Cheers, applause.) Wasn't she great? I love Jennifer. (Cheers, applause.)

But the first story I want to talk to you about is the rescue of the automobile industry. And let me tell you — let me tell you — from this man's ringside seat, let me tell you about how Barack Obama saved more than a million American jobs. In the first — in the first days, literally the first days that we took office, General Motors and Chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation. If the president didn't act, if he didn't act immediately, there wouldn't be any industry left to save.

So we sat hour after hour in the Oval Office. Michelle remembers how it must have — what he must have thought when she — he came back upstairs. We sat. We sat hour after hour. We listened to senators, congressmen, outside advisers, even some of our own adviser (sic), and we listened to them to say some of the following things. They said, well, we shouldn't step up. The risk — the risk was too high. The outcome was too uncertain.

And the president, he patiently sat there and he listened. But he didn't see it the way they did. He understood something they didn't get. And one of the reasons I love him, he understood that this wasn't just about cars. It was about the people who built and made those cars — (cheers, applause) — and about the America those people build. (Cheers, applause.)

In those meetings — (cheers, applause) — in those meetings — in those meetings, I often thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would have been one of those guys all the way down the line, not on the factory floor, not along the supply chain, but one of those guys who were selling American cars to American people.

I thought about — I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics and the secretaries and the salespeople who my dad managed for over 35 years. And I know for certain — I know for certain that my dad, were he here today, he'd be fighting like heck for the president, because the president fought to save the jobs of those people my dad cared so much about. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen, my dad — (applause) — my dad respected Barack Obama — would have respected Barack Obama, had he been around, for having had the guts to stand up for the automobile industry when so many others just were prepared to walk away.

You know, when I look back — (applause) — when I look back now, when I look back on the president's decision, I think of another son of another automobile man, Mitt Romney. Mitt — no, no — Mitt Romney — Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit. My dad managed, his dad owned — well, his dad ran an entire automobile company, American Motors. Yes, what I don't understand is in spite of that, he was willing to let the — Detroit go bankrupt.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Boo!

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, don't. I don't think he's a bad guy. No, no. I don't think he's a bad guy. I'm sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. But what I don't understand, what I don't think he understood, I don't think he understood that saving the automobile worker, saving the industry, what it meant to all of America, not just autoworkers. I think he saw it the Bain way. Now, I mean this sincerely. I think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write-offs.

Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits. But it's not the way to lead our country from the highest office. (Extended cheers, applause.)

When things — when things — when things hung in the balance — when things hung in the balance — I mean, literally hung in the balance — the president understood this was about a lot more than the automobile industry. This was about restoring America's pride. He understood — he understood in his gut what it would mean to leave a million people without hope or work if he didn't act. And he also knew — he also knew — he intuitively understood the message it would have sent around the world if the United States gave up on an industry that helped put America on the map in the first place. (Cheers, applause.) Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama — that's what saved the automobile industry. (Cheers, applause.) Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

Look, you heard my friend John Kerry. This president — this president has shown the same resolve, the same steady hand in his role as commander in chief. (Applause.) Look — which brings me to the next illustration I want to tell you about, the next crisis he had to face. In 2008 — 2008, before he was president — Barack Obama made a promise to the American people.

He said, if I have bin — if we have bin Laden in our sights, we will — we will take him out. (Cheers, applause.)

He went on to say — he went on to say, that has to be our biggest national security priority.

Look, Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about so much more than that. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong. It was about — literally, it was about — it was about healing an unbearable wound, a nearly unbearable wound in America's heart.

And he also knew — he also knew the message we had to send around the world: If you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth. (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Most of all — most of all, President Obama had an unyielding faith in the capacity and the capability of our special forces, literally the finest warriors in the history of the world. (Cheers, applause.) The finest warriors in the history of the world.

So we sat. (Cheers, applause.) We sat originally — only five of us — we sat in the Situation Room beginning in the fall of the year before. We listened, we talked, we heard, and he listened to the risks and reservations about the raid. He asked again the tough questions. He listened to the doubts that were expressed.

But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said, sir, we can get this job done, I sat next to him and looked at your husband, and I knew at that moment he had made his decision. And his response was decisive. He said, do it — and justice was done! (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Folks, Governor Romney didn't see things that way. When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, here's what he said. He said, it's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person. (Boos.)

But he was wrong. He was wrong. Because if you understood that America's heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the president did and you would move heaven and earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice. (Cheers, applause.)

Look, four years ago — four years ago — the only thing missing at this convention this year is my mom. Four years ago my mom was still with us, sitting up in the stadium in Denver. I quoted her.

(Cheers, applause.) I quoted her, one of her favorite expressions. She used to say to all her children — she said, Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will come when it must be summoned.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you what I think you already know. But I watch it up close. Bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama, and time and time again I witnessed him summon it. (Applause.) This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel. (Cheers, applause.) And — and because — because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we can now proudly say what you've heard me say the last six months: Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive. (Cheers, applause.) That's right. One man.

Folks, we know — we know we have more work to do. We know we're not there yet. But not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven't been grateful as an American that Barack Obama is our president because he always has the courage to make the tough decisions. (Cheers, applause.)

Speaking of tough decisions — speaking of tough calls — (chuckles) — last week we heard at the Republican convention — we heard our opponents — we heard them pledge that they too — they too heard the courage to make the tough calls.

That's what they said. (Laughter.)

But folks, in case you didn't notice — (laughter) — and I say to my fellow Americans, in case you didn't notice, they didn't have the courage to tell you what calls they'd make. (Laughter, applause.) They never mentioned any of that. (Applause.)

They — Mrs. Robinson, you — you watched from home, I guess, from the White House. You heard them talk so much about how they cared so much about Medicare, how much they wanted to preserve it. That's what they told you.

But let's look at what they didn't tell you. What they didn't tell you is that the plan they have already put down on paper would immediately cut benefits for more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare. What they didn't tell you — what they didn't tell you is the plan they're proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016. And what they really didn't tell you is they — if you want to know — if you want to know — they're not for preserving Medicare at all. They're for a new plan. It's called "Vouchercare." (Boos.)

Look, folks. That's not courage. That's not even truthful. That's not even truthful. In Tampa, they talk with great urgency about the nation's debt and the need to act, to act now. But not once, not one single time, did they tell you that they rejected every plan put forward by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission they referenced — (applause) — or by any other respected group to reduce the national debt.

They are not for any of them. Why? Because they're not prepared to do anything about the debt if it contained even one dollar — I'm not exaggerating — even one dollar or one cent in new taxes for millionaires.

Folks, that's not courage and that's not fair. (Applause.)

Look — look. In a sense, this can be reduced to a single notion. The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years, as I said at the outset, have fundamentally different visions and a completely different value set.

Governor Romney believes in this global economy — it doesn't matter much where American companies invest and put their money or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, in his budget proposal, in his tax proposal, he calls for a new tax. It's called a territorial tax, which the experts have looked at, and they acknowledge it will create 800,000 new jobs — all of them overseas, all of them. (Boos.)

And what I've found — what I found fascinating, the most fascinating thing I found last week was when Governor Romney said that as president, he would take a jobs tour. Well, with his support for outsourcing, it's going to have to be a foreign trip. (Cheers, applause.) It will.

Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America, keeping jobs in America, bringing jobs back to America is what the president's job was all about.

That's what presidents do, or at least supposed to do. (Applause.)

Folks, Governor Romney believes it's OK to raise taxes on middle classes by $2,000 in order to pay for another — literally another trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. President Obama knows that there's nothing decent or fair about asking people with more to do less and with less to do more. (Scattered cheers.)

Governor Romney believes — he believes that kids, kids like our "DREAMers" — those immigrant children — (cheers, applause) — those immigrant children who were brought to America's shores through no fault of their own — he thinks they're a drag on the American economy. President Obama believes that even though those "DREAMers," those kids, didn't choose to come here, they have chosen to do right by America. And it's time for us to do right by them. (Extended cheers, applause.)

Governor Romney — Governor Romney — Governor Romney — Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay in terms of a company's bottom line. President Obama — he knows that making sure our daughters get the same pay for the same jobs as our son is every father's bottom line. (Cheers, applause.)

Look, I kind of expected all that from him. But one thing truly perplexed me at their convention. The thing that perplexed me most was this idea they kept talking about about the culture of dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, young, qualified kid from a working-class family a loan to get to college or when you provide a job training program in a new industry for a dad who lost his job because it was outsourced.

Folks — folks, that's not how we look at it. That's not how America's ever looked at it. (Applause.) What he doesn't understand is all these men and women are looking for is a chance, just a chance to acquire the skills to be able to provide for their families so they can once again hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity. That's all they're looking for. (Cheers, applause.)

Look — and it literally amazes me they don't understand that. You know, I told you the outset the choice is stark, two different visions, two different value sets. But at its core, the difference is able to reduced (sic) to be a fundamental difference. You see, you, we, most Americans have incredible faith in the decency and hard work of the American people. And we know what has made this country. It's the American people. (Cheers, applause.)

As I mentioned at the outset, four years ago we were hit hard. You saw — you saw your retirement accounts drain, the equity in your homes vanish, jobs lost around the line. But what did you do as Americans? What you've always done. You didn't lose faith. You fought back. You didn't give up you got up. (Cheers, applause.) You're the ones, the American people, you're the ones. You're the reason why we are still better-positioned than any country in the world to lead the 21st century. (Cheers, applause.) You never quit on America. And you deserve a president who will never quit on you. (Cheers, applause.)

Folks, there's one more thing, one more thing our Republican opponents are just dead wrong about. America is not in decline. America is not in decline. (Applause.) I've got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan: Gentlemen, never ever — it never makes sense, it's never been a good bet to bet against the American people. (Cheers, applause.) Never!

My fellow Americans, America is coming back. And we're not going back. And we have no intention of downsizing the American dream. (Extended cheers, applause.) Never. Never a good bet.

Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment — in a moment we're going to hear from a man whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream and whose presidency is the best hope to secure that dream for our children. For you see — you see, we see a future — we really honest to God do — we see a future where everyone, rich and poor, does their part and has a part, a future where we depend more on clean energy from home and less on oil from abroad, a future where we're number one in the world again in college graduation, a future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector — (cheers, applause) — and a future — and a future where women once again control their own choices, their destiny and their own health care. (Cheers, applause.)

And ladies and gentlemen, Barack and I see a future — it's in our DNA — where no one, no one is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance. (Cheers, applause.)

Folks, we see a future where American — where America leads not only by the power of our — the example of our power, but by the power of example, where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan just as we proudly did from Iraq — (cheers, applause) — a future — a future where we fulfill the only truly sacred obligation we have as a nation. The only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those who we send to war and care for them when they come home from war.

And tonight — (applause) — and tonight — tonight I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels and those 49,746 wounded, thousands critically, thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.

Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.

My fellow Americans, we now — we now — and we now find ourselves at the hinge of history. And the direction we turn is not figuratively, is literally in your hands. It has been a truly great honor to serve you and to serve with Barack, who has always stood up with you for the past four years. I've seen him tested. I know his strength, his command, his faith. And I also know the incredible confidence he has in all of you. I know this man. Yes, the work of recovery is not yet — not yet complete. But we are on our way. The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way. (Applause.) And the cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way. (Cheers, applause.)

So I say to you tonight with absolute confidence, America's best days are ahead, and yes, we are on our way. (Cheers, applause.) And in light — in light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideals that inspire us, there is only one choice. That choice is to move forward, boldly forward, and finish the job and re-elect President Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. (Cheers, applause.) God bless you. Thank you. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.)


Biden makes his closing argument at Democratic convention: 'It didn't have to be this bad'

Joe Biden’s decades-long journey to the top of the Democratic ticket ended Thursday when he gave his first official address as the party’s nominee to a nearly empty convention center in Wilmington, Del.

“While I'll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I'll work hard for those who didn't support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me,” said Biden as he formally accepted the nomination.

He continued: “I will draw on the best of us, not the worst of us. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”

Without mentioning him by name, Biden quickly admonished President Trump, accusing him of abdicating his responsibility to the American public.

“Just judge this president on the facts. Five million Americans infected by COVID-19. More than 170,000 Americans have died. By far the worst performance of any nation on earth,” said Biden.

Biden said the president had been “looking for a miracle” when he could have helped stem the tide of the virus before it was too late.

“The tragedy that we face today is that it didn't have to be this bad. The president keeps waiting around, looking for a miracle. Well, I have news for him: Mr. President, no miracle is coming.”

He also acknowledged the work that must be done to begin to address racial inequalities – an issue he said he would prioritize, if elected, with the first African-American vice president by his side.

“History has thrust one more urgent task on us: Will we be the generation that finally wipes out the stain of racism from our national character? I believe we're up to it.”

Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and was, at times, chairman of the Senate’s judiciary and foreign relations committees. The 77-year-old first ran for president in 1988, when he was seen as a party rising star. That bid crashed and burned, however, in part due to a plagiarism scandal.

He made a second attempt in 2008 but was unable to pick up any traction in a race dominated by Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Still, his run further elevated his profile, and Obama chose Biden as his running mate after securing the nomination.

Biden was then elected to two terms as vice president. He considered a White House bid in 2016 but demurred as he dealt with the death of his son Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general and Army veteran.

Last year, however, Biden again announced that he was running for president. Although he consistently polled well, he had a rocky few months as Democrats looked to younger and more progressive figures in the party.

As the primaries approached, Biden’s robust fundraising began to falter, and he was ridiculed for his verbal slips and sometimes eccentric interactions with voters. After finishing fifth in the New Hampshire primary, his candidacy was on life support.

His saving grace came in February’s South Carolina primary, which he won after a campaign-reviving endorsement from Rep. James Clyburn. Black voters turned out in record numbers to catapult Biden firmly into first place, and several of his primary opponents quickly dropped out and endorsed him. It is widely viewed as one of the greatest political comebacks in modern political history.

“This is a life-changing election,” Biden said Thursday. “It will determine what America will look like for a long time. Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy: they’re all on the ballot."

The convention marked the pinnacle of Biden’s career as a politician. Nearly 50 years after he first ran for office – and 33 years since he first ran for president – Biden has at last won the Democratic nomination for president. And with polls showing him to have opened up a significant lead against Trump, he is now the odds-on favorite to win the presidency in November.

On a night of personal triumph, he spoke to a nation on edge about what he has gained from loss.

“I understand how hard it is to have any hope right now. On this summer night, let me take a moment to speak to those of you who have lost the most. I have some idea of how it feels to lose someone you love. I know that deep, black hole that opens up in the middle of your chest and you feel like you’re being sucked into it,” Biden said Thursday night.

“I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes. But I’ve learned two things: first, your loved one may have left this earth, but they’ll never leave your heart. They’ll always be with you. You’ll always hear them. And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose.”


Watch the video: Obama Surprises Joe Biden at Democratic Convention