Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, departed Sunday from party doctrine on abortion rights, declaring that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception.
While Mr. Biden's views may not be new to Democrats in his circle, his comments, in an interview on "Meet the Press" on NBC, came at a time when his party is confronted with a new face: Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, whose anti-abortion stance and decision to give birth just five months ago to a baby with Down syndrome have revved up the conservative base of her party.
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