Obama skips Clinton, picks Biden as running mate

Sat. August 23, 2008 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

barack obama

photo credit // www.barackobama.com

Neither Obama nor Biden support same-sex marriage

Chicago, IL - Sen. Barack Obama has selected Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, according to Obama's official campaign Web site and a text message sent to supporters early Saturday morning.

"Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee," read the text message sent from the Obama campaign after 3 a.m. (ET).

Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, brings foreign policy experience which might bolster Obama in and area in which he is perceived as weak.

In selecting Biden, Obama passed over several other potential running mates including Hillary Clinton. Some have questioned whether Biden is able to inspire excitement among votes and if he has the ability to sway former Clinton supporters back to the Democratic Party.

Clinton issued a statement Saturday praising Obama's decision and calling Biden "an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant."

Sen. John McCain's campaign was quick to react.

"There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden," McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said in a written statement.

The McCain campaign also unveiled a new television ad early Saturday. The television commercial called "Biden," includes statements made by Biden before he was selected to run on Obama's ticket. In one video statement, Biden said he would be "honored" to run with McCain.

In 2007, Biden referred to Obama as "clean, bright, and articulate," a remark that caused controversy for him just as he launched his campaign.

The 65-year-old Biden does not support same-sex marriage but does support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, the same position held by Obama. Biden voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to ban same-sex marriage. He supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), federal hate crime legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories, and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

Biden is pro-choice and pro gun control.

Biden voted in 2003 to authorize President Bush to use military force in Iraq, he also voted against the Bush tax cuts and against Republican Supreme Court nominees William Rehnquist, Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

First elected to the Senate in 1972, Biden has twice sought the Presidency. He is currently serving out his sixth term, making him Delaware's longest-serving senator.

Biden is Catholic and has three living children: Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, Robert Hunter Biden, and Ashley Biden (with Jill Tracy Jacobs). One of his sons is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq soon. Biden's daughter Amy died in 1972.

Obama and Biden will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois. The pair will then head to Denver for the Democratic National Convention.