Father's Tough Life an Inspiration for Biden





Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. has worked with titans of the Senate and met countless heads of state. None of them have left as deep an impression on him as his father, Joseph Robinette Biden Sr., a prideful man.

Though life had dealt Joe Sr. a tough hand early in life in drunken, faithless bosses and a thieving partner, he never bemoaned his fate.

Joe Sr. had it all in his 20s, sailing yachts off the New England coast, riding to the hounds, driving fast cars, flying airplanes. A decade later, he found himself with a wife and four children living in a two-bedroom apartment in a dreary, treeless suburb of Wilmington, selling used cars.

His children saw hints of his former life in his wardrobe — he was always impeccably dressed with a perfect pocket square — and in the back of his closet, where he kept his riding pinks, his polished boots and his polo mallet.

His son the senator said the old man preached one lesson that had been the guiding principle in his own life, which has seen its share of defeats, some dealt by cruel fate, some self-inflicted. It is what has kept him going when he has faced tragedy and humiliation, the leitmotifs of the Biden story.


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