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JOE BIDEN

SEPTEMBER 2008

BIDEN BACKS OFF ON PURSUING CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BUSH & CO

BIDEN: THE MAN FROM MASTERCARD

BIDEN'S MIXED RECORD ON DRUGS

AUGUST 2008

BIDEN CLAIMED CREDIT FOR PATRIOT ACT

BIDEN'S LOBBYIST TIES DON'T HELP OBAMA

BIDEN'S SON, BROTHER NAMED IN TWO SUITS

BIDEN: THE MAN FROM MASTERCARD

Ralph Nader - Biden will have a tough time when people find out that as MBNA's man in the Senate--MBNA has been his biggest financial backer, after contributing $214,000 over his career--he was the long-time champion and key architect of, in the words of Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Chris Dodd, "one of the "worst bills ever," the anti-consumer bankruptcy law, which helped pave the way for the present foreclosure crisis by shifting the risk for engaging in predatory lending practices from predatory lenders to hapless borrowers. . . He was the one who worked through two presidential administrations to ram this legislation through, first with President Clinton who had the good sense to veto it, and then President Bush who had the moral bankruptcy to sign it.

BIDEN'S MIXED RECORD ON DRUGS

Ethan Nadelmann' Drug Policy Alliance Network - Sen. Joe Biden is unquestionably one of the chief architects of the modern war on drugs, but is also an unlikely ally in many important fights. He has been at the center of many of our national campaigns; perhaps more so than any other senator.

Earlier this year, Sen. Biden surprised many by introducing legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Hillary Clinton, to completely eliminate the 100-to-1 crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, leapfrogging more modest reforms put forth by Senators Kennedy, Hatch, Sessions and others. Like many members of Congress, he voted for the legislation in the 1980s that created the disparity. Unlike most though, Sen. Biden has the guts and humility to admit he was wrong.

Sen. Biden's groundbreaking bill has seven co-sponsors, including Sen. Obama. It is a sign of how politically popular drug policy reform has become among voters that a major presidential candidate not only co-sponsors a reform bill but nominates the bill's sponsor as his running mate. That Sen. Biden is willing to be on the same ticket with Sen. Obama, who has indicated he understands the war on drugs isn't working and called for a new paradigm, may be evidence that his views on drug policy are shifting.

Sen. Biden has been a strong supporter of treatment and prevention. For instance, he helped write the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, which makes it easier for doctors to prescribe buprenorphine and other replacement medication from their offices rather than special treatment clinics. He was one of only five Senators to vote against confirming President Bush's drug czar, John Walters, who has a history of short-changing treatment.

On the other hand, Sen. Biden played a major role in enacting the draconian mandatory minimum sentences, in the 1980s, which have filled our prisons with nonviolent drug law offenders. And he sponsored the law creating the Office of National Drug Control Policy, giving Bill Bennett and other drug war extremists a national stage and increased power. More recently, he passed the RAVE Act, which makes it easier for the government to prosecute bar and nightclub owners for the drug law offenses of their customers.

The Drug Policy Alliance Network's relationship with Sen. Biden has certainly been rocky. . . We'll thank policymakers when they're right and criticize them when they're wrong."

THE GOOD AND THE BAD OF JOE BIDEN

GOOD THINGS ABOUT JOE BIDEN

From On the Issues and other sources
http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Joe_Biden_Drugs.htm

- Save Pentagon spending by getting the troops out of Iraq. (Dec 2007)
- More transparency for hedge funds and private equity funds. (Aug 2007)
- Expand embryonic stem cell research. (Jun 2004)
- Voted NO on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
- Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
- Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
- Voted NO on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
- Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
- Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)
- Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
- Rated 78% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
- Rated 100% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
- Re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment. (Mar 2007)
- Voted YES on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
- Rated 32% by the US COC, indicating an anti-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
- Voted NO on restricting class-action lawsuits. (Dec 1995)
- Rated 71% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes. (Dec 2000)
- Divert drug offenders out of prison system. (Jun 2007)
- Voted NO on increasing penalties for drug offenses. (Nov 1999)
- Hire more teachers and pay them for smaller classes. (Dec 2007)
- $3000 tax credit for college for anyone earning under $150K. (Sep 2007)
- Pay teachers more to get better educational results. (Apr 2007)
- NCLB needs more resources, but also is fundamentally flawed. (Feb 2007)
- Voting for No Child Left Behind was a mistake. (Jul 2007)
- Voted NO on school vouchers in DC. (Sep 1997)
- Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer. (Jul 1994)
- Rated 91% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
- Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jun 2007)
- Voted YES on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR. (Nov 2005)
- Voted NO on approving a nuclear waste repository. (Apr 1997)
- Take away the billions of subsidy to the oil companies. (Jun 2007)
- Voted NO on confirming Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior. (Jan 2001)
- Voted NO on more funding for forest roads and fish habitat. (Sep 1999)
- Rated 95% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
- Rated 16% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
- No trade agreements without workers' & environmental rights. (Jul 2007)
- Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
- 1988: led fight against nomination of Robert Bork. (Jul 2007)
- Voted NO on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (Jul 2007)
- Voted NO on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (Mar 2006)
- Commitment to never use torture; no part of our policy, ever. (Sep 2007)
- Don't Ask Don't Tell is antiquated & unworkable. (Aug 2007)
- Voted YES on requiring FISA court warrant to monitor US-to-foreign calls. (Feb 2008)
- Voted YES on limiting soldiers' deployment to 12 months. (Jul 2007)
- Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision. (Dec 2005)
- Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
- Allow an Air Traffic Controller's Union. (Jan 2006)
- Raise the $97,500 Social Security cap, but don't raise retirement age. (Sep 2007)
- Voted YES on deducting Social Security payments on income taxes. (May 1996)
- Take away $85B in annual tax cuts for 1% of top earners. (Jul 2007)
- Voted YES on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million. (Mar 2008)

BAD THINGS ABOUT JOE BIDEN

Biden has sought to take the lead on drug policy, spearheading creation of a "Drug Czar" and crafting laws to control narcotics--measures that are widely viewed as pretty much of a failure.

CNET gives him a 37% rating, describing him a pro RIAA and pro FBI on tech issues

Opposes lowering drinking age.

One of the most overlooked episodes during the 1987 collapse of Biden's campaign was a snippet of footage captured by C-Span in which the Delaware senator, in response to a question about where he went to law school and what sort of grades he received, delivered this classic line: "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do." . . . Biden's detractors point to that incident as evidence that the senator thinks he is the bee's knees and doesn't care who knows it. Biden, by his own admission, has the capacity to fall in love with his own voice and wander off on tangents about his life that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. - Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

During the 2006 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the Post's Dana Milbank wrote this of Biden's performance: "Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., in his first 12 minutes of questioning the nominee, managed to get off only one question. Instead, during his 30-minute round of questioning, Biden spoke about his own Irish American roots, his "Grandfather Finnegan," his son's application to Princeton (he attended the University of Pennsylvania instead, Biden said), a speech the senator gave on the Princeton campus, the fact that Biden is "not a Princeton fan," and his views on the eyeglasses of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)." - Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

While Biden was on his best verbal behavior for much of the rest of the campaign, there is no question that his tendency to shoot from the lip worries some in Obama world. As one Democratic consultant put it: "You know there will be three days in the campaign where someone in Chicago will get a call and respond -- 'What did you say he said?. - Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

During one of the Democratic debates, Biden stood by comments about Obama that "I think he can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on- the-job training." In August, Biden was harshly critical of Obama's lack of experience, saying, "Having talking points on foreign policy doesn't get you there." - Washington Post

- No public funding for abortion; it imposes a view. (Apr 2007)
- Supports partial-birth abortion ban, but not undoing Roe. (Apr 2007)
- Accepts Catholic church view that life begins at conception. (Apr 2007)
- Rated 36% by NARAL,
- Voted YES on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Mar 1997)
- For longer school day & school year, & 16-year minimum. (Oct 2007)
- Voted YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe. (May 2002)
- Universal national service, in military or Peace Corps. (Dec 2007)
- Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)

BIDEN'S SON, BROTHER NAMED IN TWO SUITS

Washington Post - A son and a brother of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) are accused in two lawsuits of defrauding a former business partner and an investor of millions of dollars in a hedge fund deal that went sour, court records show. The Democratic vice presidential candidate's son Hunter, 38, and brother James, 59, assert instead that their former partner defrauded them by misrepresenting his experience in the hedge fund industry and recommending that they hire a lawyer with felony convictions. . . A lawsuit filed by their former partner Anthony Lotito Jr. asserts in court papers that the deal was crafted to get Hunter Biden out of lobbying because his father was concerned about the impact it would have on his bid for the White House. Biden was running for the Democratic nomination at the time the suit was filed. Hunter Biden was made president with an annual salary of $1.2 million, despite his inexperience in the hedge fund industry, the lawsuit said. . . Hunter Biden is one of many children and relatives of prominent members of Congress who have made their careers as lobbyists. He returned to lobbying after less than a year with Paradigm.

BIDEN'S FRIEND TOOK PART IN KICKBACK SCHEME