Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware will be announced today as Barack Obama’s vice presidential nominee.
Obama sent word of the selection of Biden, a six-term Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in an email at 6:55 this morning after the decision was first reported by Association Press around midnight.
“Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois — the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago,” Obama told supporters.
Biden is known for his international expertise and his talkative–some say longwinded–style which has occasionally gotten him in political trouble. Last year he described Obama “the first mainstream African American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” a remark he spent days trying to explain away.
In the end, the gaffe didn’t hurt Biden, as the Illinois Senator yesterday told Virgnia Governor Tim Kaine, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and defeated rival New York Senator Hillary Clinton that they would not be on the ticket.
Biden differed from Obama on the key issue of Iraq, voting in late 2002 to authorize the Bush administration to use military force against the government of Saddam Hussein. While Biden became a fierce critic of the Bush policy after the 2003 invasion, he still defends that vote, a stance that may rankle anti-war Democrats.
Biden provides no obvious electoral advantage to Obama. Delaware’s three electoral votes are all but certain to go for the Democrats.
The youngest person ever elected to the Senate, Biden was just 29 when first took office in 1972.
As Iowa Independent has reported, his wife Jill teaches at a community college. His son Beau was deployed to Iraq earlier this year as a member of the National Guard.