Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. and Barack Hussein Obama affirmed their partnership at the 56th Presidential Inauguration, a swearing-in ceremony that occurs on the West Side of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Reverend Rick Warren, a California evangelical megapastor, delivered the invocation while Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Stevens oversaw the oaths of office.
Mr. Biden, 66, is the Vice President of the United States of America. He was a six-term senator from Delaware who, at age thirty, became the fifth-youngest senator in U.S. history. He graduated from the University of Delaware and received a law degree from Syracuse University. He also served as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law where he taught a seminar on constitutional law.
He is the son of the late Joseph R. Biden, Sr., a car salesman, and Jean Biden of Claymont, Delaware.
Mr. Obama, 47, is the President of the United States of America. He was a first-term senator from Illinois and was the only African-American member of the Senate. He is a Columbia University graduate and received his law degree magna cum laude from Harvard where he was the editor-in-chief and president of the Harvard Law Review. He also taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School.
His parents are the late Barack Obama Sr., a goat herder and senior economist for the Kenyan Ministry of Finance, and the late Ann Dunham Soetoro, a cultural anthropologist.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama met in the Capitol Building in 2004 where they both worked as Senators for the Democratic Party.
After Mr. Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address, "I had admired him, but I was too shy to introduce myself," Mr. Biden said of Mr. Obama's first day in the Senate. "He was like a rock star."
Mr. Obama said didn't really notice Mr. Biden at first. "I couldn't tell him apart from all the other white-haired Senators walking around the halls," he admitted.
The first time they spoke was on their way to the Senate chamber. "I told Barack he had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe," Mr. Biden wistfully recalled. "I appreciated that," said Mr Obama. "I was about to make my first vote on the floor. I definitely began to trust him after that."
After more frequent run-ins around Washington, the two began to speak with more regularity and realized they shared many interests: Jay-Z, basketball, spicy Thai food and "Babar," a favorite childhood book. "Though we come from divergent backgrounds, we both rose from humble roots, received law degrees and overcame great adversity to hold positions of power," Mr. Obama noted. "Joe and I share the American story."
And while Mr. Obama enjoyed Mr. Biden's company, the Delaware senator was totally smitten. "We connect on such a deep level," Mr. Biden added "that our bond feels more heart-warming than 'Rocky' or receiving a kitten on Christmas."
During their time in the Senate, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden forged a closer bond serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee together--though Mr. Obama remained interested but aloof. "I was just getting used to being inside the Beltway at the time, and people were already pushing me to run for the Oval Office. And then so was Joe."
Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama kept at a distance during the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But according to Mr. Biden, "that's when fate stepped in." Mr. Biden dropped out of the contest early and when Mr. Obama defeated Senator Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Mr. Biden was hopeful that Mr. Obama would take their relationship one step further and pick him as his running mate.
But Mr. Obama was still uncertain about Mr. Biden, who is known as "The Gaffe Machine," to colleagues. At a press conference Mr. Biden remarked that Mr. Obama (who is bi-racial), "is clean and articulate." And later, at a political rally, Mr. Biden called enthusiastically to a wheelchair-bound state Senator, "Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya."
Of the statements Mr. Biden said, "Unless there's a teleprompter in front of me, I haven't the foggiest idea what's going to come out of my mouth." Mr. Biden felt sure his chances of becoming Mr. Obama's running mate were slim.
But any bitterness between the one time rivals was forgotten when Mr. Biden, sitting in a dentist's office, received a call on his cell. Mr. Obama was on the other line. "And that's when I popped the question. I asked Joe if he'd take the plunge and become my running mate."
"I couldn't believe it. I screamed and clapped my hands over my mouth, like that kid in 'Home Alone,' but I couldn't feel anything because my mouth was full of Novocaine."
That was the kind of enthusiasm Mr. Obama was hoping for. "I mean, with Joe you've got one of the only Senators who isn't a millionaire who didn't attend an Ivy League school--and the guy can dance." Obama said. "You should see him cabbage patch."
After a long and bitter campaign, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden went on to defeat Republican hopefuls, Senator McCain and Governor Palin.
And on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at a historic swearing-in ceremony in front of a sea of two million people and millions more watching at home, Mr. Biden became the country's first Roman Catholic Vice President and Mr. Obama will be the country's first president to attempt to quit smoking in office.
Vice President Biden "was close to tears throughout the ceremony." And true to form, he loquaciously added, "I thought it would be like the first time I got my driver's license, but it was so much better."
President Obama was also sentimental talking about their future together. "I love Joe's energy and enthusiasm. And his verbal misfires always baffle me," he said. "I still don't know what the hell he's going to say. But I look forward to finding out."
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