Joe BidenI was rooting for Obama to pick Biden when the shortlist for his VP picks came out (prior to that, I was hoping he'd pick New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who'd been a congressman, an ambassador to the United Nations, and Bill Clinton's Energy secretary, but Richardson wasn't on the list). During the early part of the Democratic primaries, Biden drew heat for some statements he made about Barack Obama, but he also made one of the funniest cracks during the campaign about Rudy Giuliani: "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11."
In 1972, Biden's wife and baby daughter were killed in a car accident. His two young sons were hospitalized with serious injuries. The accident happened a week before Christmas and six weeks after Biden had been elected one of the youngest U.S. senators ever.
One of his sons, Beau Biden, now 38, the attorney general of Delaware and the father of two children himself, recalls that his father said at the time: "Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can't get another dad."
"Those weren't just words," he added. "He lived them."
Beau Biden remembers that his father stayed constantly at the hospital with him and his brother. The boys recovered, and Biden's sister, Valerie, moved in to help care for them.
Biden wrote in his memoir that he told the then-Senate majority leader, Mike Mansfield, that he wouldn't become a senator, but Mansfield persuaded him to give it at least a six-month try.
He began a daily commute by train — 80 minutes each way between Wilmington and Washington — rushing to get home in time for dinner, or at least dessert, and to tuck his children in at night and be there when they woke up. His son said that Biden put his children first, making sure he got to ball games and other important events.
Biden has never had a home in Washington. He's always made the commute.
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The story so farSeptember 2004