Who is US president-elect Joe Biden?

Before the 2020 presidential race, people mainly knew Joe Biden as vice-president to Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.

So who is Mr Biden? What is his political background? Which British political leader did he try to emulate?

And how has he managed to climb his way to the White House?

Joseph Biden, the newly-elected Democratic Senator from Delaware, in Washington in 1972. Credit: AP

Joe Biden was first elected a senator in 1972, only for his world to fall apart just five weeks later, when his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash.

Mr Biden has often spoken of the loss of his first wife Neilia and baby daughter Naomi.

The tragedy also left his toddler sons Beau and Hunter injured, meaning the newly-elected Senator took the oath of office from their hospital room.

He served six terms as a senator for the state of Delaware and was the sixth youngest Senator in US history at the age of 30.

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His age at his first election contributed to him being consistently ranked as one of the least wealthy members in the Senate.

Mr Biden's first attempt at the White House job was the 1988 race against Ronald Reagan.

But he was forced to withdraw from the Democratic nomination contest after he admitted plagiarising parts of a speech from British Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Neil Kinnock in 1985 Credit: PA

Shortly after Mr Kinnock’s May 1987 conference speech which included the lines: "Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?

"Was it because all our predecessors were thick?"

Mr Biden echoed on the campaign trail – without credit to Mr Kinnock – "Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?

"Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?"

Mr Biden met his second wife, Jill Jacobs in 1975, and they married in June 1977.

They had a daughter, Ashley, in 1981.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden depart after placing a wreath at the Delaware Memorial Bri Credit: Patrick Semansky/PA

During his time in Washington, Mr Biden was a long-term member of the Senate Judiciary committee and the Foreign Relations Committee, of which he eventually became chair.

During his time on the Judiciary Committee, Mr Biden spearheaded the 1994 Crime Bill which led to mass incarcerations - something he expressed regret over at a Town Hall campaign event in Philadelphia during the 2020 campaign.

His next run for the Democratic candidacy was in 2007-8, which concluded with him pulling out and joining the Obama ticket - as the 47th Vice President of the United States.

The Obamas and Bidens following the President’s election night remarks at McCormick Place in Chicago (November 6) Credit: Official White House Photo by David Lienemann

Mr Biden served as vice president in the Obama administration during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which was a huge milestone and Health Act in the US.

Health care continues to remain a priority for Mr Biden.

It's an issue he often discusses in the context of his family’s personal tragedies, the car accident in 1972, and in 2015, his son Beau Biden died of brain cancer. 

Mr Biden secured the current nomination when his last competitor, Bernie Sanders, dropped out in April 2020.

Bernie Sanders and former presidential rival Joe Biden. Credit: AP

Mr Biden faced allegations from former staffer Tara Reade in 2019, who said she felt uncomfortable with Mr Biden during her time in his Senate office in the 90s.

In March 2020, she also accused him of a sexual assault in 1993.

Mr Biden and his campaign team have strongly denied the allegation.

More recently, as the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded, Mr Biden has looked for ways to help voters picture him as a leader of the country.

He has consistently criticised Donald Trump's "slow response" to the pandemic and has been commended by US voters by suggesting recommendations rooted in advice from health care and economics experts - unlike Mr Trump's dismissive actions against scientific advisors.

These have included making coronavirus tests broadly accessible, and free.