Beau Biden Making Progress After Stroke

05/13/2010 04:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — Vice President Joe Biden's elder son, Delaware's attorney general, made progress Wednesday as he recovered from a mild stroke and hopes to return to work soon, his office said.

Beau Biden, 41, was being treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a renowned neuroscience hospital in Philadelphia, a day after suffering the stroke.

"He will continue to follow standard protocol and receive medical therapy over the coming days, as is typical for any patient recovering from an event like this," the Delaware Department of Justice said in a statement. "He looks forward to returning to his duties as attorney general in the near future."

The vice president and his wife, Jill Biden, were in Philadelphia on Wednesday, but he returned to Washington to host a dinner for Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday night. Joe Biden is one of the Obama administration's major voices in setting Afghanistan policy.

Biden said his son was doing well.

"He's doing great, thank God," Biden told reporters before heading into the dinner at his official residence in Washington. He had shouted the same thing to reporters outside the hospital that afternoon, holding up a Philly cheesesteak.

Beau Biden was admitted to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., on Tuesday morning, and was later transferred to Thomas Jefferson, about 45 miles away, vice presidential spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said.

Thomas Jefferson is the only dedicated hospital for neuroscience in the Philadelphia region, its website says, and the largest center in the region for treating strokes and aneurysms.

The hospital is certified by the Joint Commission in Stroke as a Primary Stroke Center. It is one of a few hospitals in the Philadelphia area to be cited for excellence by The American Stroke Association and American Heart Association.

Thomas Jefferson officials have declined to comment, referring questions to the vice president's office.

Biden returned last year from a yearlong deployment to Iraq with his Army National Guard unit. He was a captain and military lawyer in the 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade. He had considered running this year for the Senate seat his father held before becoming vice president, but decided instead to run for re-election as attorney general.

He announced in January that he wouldn't run for Senate, saying he needed to focus as attorney general on the high-profile criminal case against a pediatrician prosecutors say may have molested more than 100 children over the past decade.

The decision left vulnerable the seat Joe Biden held for 36 years. The elder Biden was away from that seat for seven months in 1988 after undergoing surgery for brain aneurysms.

More than a decade earlier, in 1972, he lost his wife and infant daughter when a tractor-trailer broadsided their station wagon when they were getting a Christmas tree. Beau and his brother, Hunter, were critically injured but recovered.

Beau Biden, who is married with two young children, has worked as an attorney in private practice. He also worked for the Department of Justice between 1995 and 1997 and as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1997 to 2002.

A Biden campaign spokesman, Joe Rogalsky, and state GOP chairman Tom Ross both said they don't expect his health to be an issue in the campaign. As an incumbent in a Democratic-leaning state, Biden is considered a favorite to win re-election this year, especially since Republicans don't yet have a candidate to challenge him.

Ross said the party has "a couple of very legitimate folks who would be excellent candidates," but he wasn't certain one would emerge before the party's nominating convention this weekend in Rehoboth Beach. He said he didn't think Biden's health setback would push potential GOP candidates who might have been sitting on the fence into the race.


Associated Press writers JoAnn Loviglio in Philadelphia, Randall Chase in Newark, Del., and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report