Comebacks Define Life of Biden

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As they watched Joseph R. Biden Jr. step on stage in Springfield, Ill., yesterday, a 65-year-old with white hair jogging to the lectern, many of his longtime friends and colleagues experienced a touch of deja vu: Once again, Biden had resurrected a career that appeared destined for decline.

Nearly eight months ago, Biden withdrew from the 2008 presidential race after winning less than 1 percent of the delegates in Iowa's Democratic caucuses. It was an ignoble failure for one of the most prominent and senior members of the U.S. Senate, and friends worried openly about Biden's psyche. Biden worried only about what he would do next.

That's how it has always been with Biden, Barack Obama's long-awaited choice for vice president. Setbacks are followed by successes, and the cycle repeats. A tragic car accident, brain aneurysms, a plagiarism scandal, two failed presidential runs -- nothing has permanently derailed him.

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Donald Wolberg - 8/27/2008

Indeed, Mr. Biden, the talkative Senator from Delaware, a state with 3 electoral votes, has returned from the pages of silence again. The ups and downs of a career politician are not unusual--voter's tastes change, sometimes with the seasons or the crisis of the moment. But political ups and downs can also mrrorother characteristics of office holders. Mr. Biden has had an unusual record of gaffs and "misspeaks." In the last primary, a self-declared candidate for President (Mr. Biden has never had a large following), he received about 9,000 votes, each of which must have cost thousands of dollars. Mr. Biden remarked that Mr. Obama was inexperienced and on the job training was not appropriate for a President. He mused about finding folks from India or pakistan running convienance stores, and showed how observant he was when he remarked how "clean" and "what a good speaker" Mr. Obama seemed to be. He also noted that John McCain was an experienced leader.

All of this recalled earlier ethical issues Mr. Biden has had. He delivered a speech he "borrowed" from Neil Kinnock, and Irish politician and forgot to mention that "borrowing." That error happened in a previous primary cycle, and became another of Mr. Biden's "downs."

Mr. Biden is almost 66 and not much younger than John McCain. Moreover, he has had several life-threatening medical conditions, again making not only age, but health a less than significant campaign issue by the Democrats.

Someone remarked that the two most dagerous places in Washington are getting between enator Charles Shumer and a television camera, or getting between Mr. Biden and a microphone. The selection of Mr. Biden remains a puzzle and is not likely to help Mr. Obama's faltering campaign. Mr. Biden brings no contribution of electoral votes, is not well known, and has many missteps to explain.