Special Report

Young Joe Biden: 13 Amazing Facts

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Love him or hate him (or simply don’t care about him), President Joe Biden is still a human being with a history full of memories and interesting facts. His long life of experience influenced the president he would eventually become. But what are some of the more impactful and interesting facts about the young Joe Biden that we recognize today? In order to better understand (or appreciate or loathe) President Biden, here are 13 amazing facts you probably didn’t know about our current president.

#1 He Was Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania

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Scranton, Pennsylvania.

This is a little fact for fans of the American version of The Office in the audience. Biden was born in Scranton, the location of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and their competitor, the Michael Scott Paper Company. He lived there until he was ten, when his family moved to Claymont Delaware.

#2 He Had a Stutter Growing Up

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Joe Biden in 2021.

Joe Biden grew up with a stutter and only learned to control it in his early twenties. In fact, one of his proudest moments, according to himself, was a five-minute speech he gave when he attended an all-boys Catholic school in Delaware that forced him to overcome his stutter. This stutter led other kids to bully him and teachers to humiliate him. He overcame this stutter by reciting poetry in the mirror.

#3 Biden Avoided the Vietnam Draft Because He Had Asthma

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Vietnam War, 1966.

While he was in school at the University of Delaware and Syracuse University, Biden was able to secure five draft deferments while most other draftees were forced to go to war in Vietnam. Later, a spokesman for Biden said that the reason for the deferment was that Biden had had asthma as a teenager, so he failed the physical examinations.

#4 He Majored in History and Political Science

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President Biden Delivers Remarks On Economic Growth, Jobs, And Deficit Reduction.

During high school, Biden was a poor student and described as unremarkable and unexceptional. He also underperformed during his years in college but eventually graduated with a double major in history and political science. He later decided he wanted to practice law. At the Syracuse University College of Law, he graduated 76th out of a class of 85 and even failed a course because he plagiarized one of his papers.

#5 Biden Used to Consider Himself a Republican

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Joe Biden accepts party’s nomination for president In Delaware during virtual DNC.

During his early life and professional career, Biden considered himself a Republican. He worked for prominent republican law firms and politicians and was openly opposed to the Democratic Delaware Governor. Republicans attempted to convince him to join the party, but he registered as an independent instead.

#6 His First Successful Election Was In 1970

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President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden putt on the White House putting green April 24, 2009.

In 1970, Biden ran his first campaign on a liberal platform for the 4th district seat on the New Castle County Council. Part of his campaign was based on support for public housing, and he opposed large highway projects. He completed his first term before beginning his first term in the U.S. Senate in 1973.

#7 He Was First Elected to The Senate in 1972

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The east side of the US Capitol in the early morning.

In 1972, Biden was the only Democrat to launch a campaign against the popular Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs. He had minimal funds for his campaign and it was believed he had absolutely no chance of winning. Biden’s family staffed his campaign but remained behind his opponent. He campaigned on environmental issues, withdrawing from Vietnam, civil rights, healthcare, and equitable taxation. Yet, a few months before election day, he still trailed by about 30 percentage points. However, in a surprise result, Biden won the election with 50.5% of the total vote.

At the time of the election, Biden was 29 and too young to hold a seat in the Senate. He turned 30 in November just in time to take his seat on January 3, making him the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history at the time.

#8 He Lost His First Wife and Daughter in a 1972 Car Crash

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Joe Biden at the Fourth of July Iowa Cubs game at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa.

Just a few weeks after his successful 1972 campaign, Biden’s family was involved in a tragic and fatal car crash. His wife Neilia and their three children were struck by a semi-truck while Christmas shopping. Neilia and their one-year-old daughter were killed. Their two sons, Beau and Hunter survived after being transported to the hospital to be treated for broken limbs and head injuries. Biden was going to resign his Senate position but was persuaded not to. Later he said that he “felt god had played a horrible trick” on him.

#9 He Was One of The Strongest Opponents of Race-Integration Busing

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Martin Luther King in 1963.

While he was a strong proponent of consumer protections and environmental issues, he earned a reputation for himself as a fierce opponent of race-integration busing and other integration-related legislation. His lack of support for integration contributed to his party eventually abandoning all school integration policies.

#10 He Was a Strong Anti-Crime Senator

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Evidence markers are placed at a North Philadelphia crime scene.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Biden was a key figure in the passing of several bills addressing crime, guns, and drugs in America. He was the floor manager during the passage of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, he helped pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and the Violence Against Women Act (which he calls his most significant legislation). He has since regretted his role in passing the Crime Control Act (even though it included a ban on assault weapons) because its policy on cocaine “trapped an entire generation” and disproportionately impacted poor communities.

#11 His First Presidential Run Was in 1988

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Presidential candidate Joe Biden continues “No Malarkey” bus tour through Iowa.

Biden declared his candidacy for the presidency in 1987 and was a popular choice due to his moderate politics and speaking ability. He would have been the second-youngest person elected president if he had won. However, campaign in-fighting and multiple accusations of plagiarism sunk his chances. After he made several false and exaggerated remarks about his past (including graduating top of his class and marching in the civil rights movement), Biden withdrew his candidacy.

#12 Biden Was a Strong Marriage Fundamentalist

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Same sex marriage supporters in 2015.

In 1993, Biden voted for a military provision that declared homosexuality incompatible with military service. This essentially banned gays and lesbians from serving in the United States military. In 1996, he continued this streak of bigotry by voting for the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibited federal government recognition of same-sex marriages. This meant that same-sex marriages were not given equal protection under federal law and gave the states permission to do the same. This law was ruled unconstitutional in 2015.

#13 Biden Has Had Two Brain Surgeries

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Vice President Joe Biden tours the General Motors exhibit at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

In 1988, Biden was suffering from severe neck pain and it was discovered that he had a leak from an intracranial berry aneurysm. He underwent brain surgery in February to fix the issue. While he was recovering, however, he suffered a pulmonary embolism, which is a serious issue when a substance from somewhere else has moved into the arteries of the lungs and blocked blood flow.

Biden then suffered a second aneurysm in May of that same year and underwent another brain surgery to treat it. This recovery kept him out of the Senate for most of the year.

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