A timeline of U.S. Sen. Joe Biden's life and career:
Nov. 20, 1942 Born in Scranton, Pa., the first of four children.
Summer 1953 Moves to Claymont, Del.
Sept. 1957 Attends Archmere Academy in Claymont, a Catholic prep school.
June 1965 Graduates from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science, enrolls in Syracuse University law school.
Aug. 27, 1966 Marries Neilia Hunter.
June 1968 After graduating from law school, begins work as a trial attorney at a law firm in Wilmington, Del., and serves as a public defender.
Feb. 3, 1969 Birth of first child, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, now attorney general of Delaware.
Feb. 4, 1970 Birth of second child, Hunter.
November 1970 Elected to New Castle County Council.
Nov. 8, 1971 Birth of third child, Naomi Christina.
November 1972 Elected one of Delaware's U.S. senators, beating an incumbent Republican.
Dec. 18, 1972 Wife and three children are in an automobile accident while Christmas shopping. Wife Neilia and daughter Naomi die. Sons Beau and Hunter are critically injured but fully recover.
Jan. 5, 1973 Sworn in to the U.S. Senate at the bedside of the still-convalescing Beau and Hunter in Wilmington.
January 1975 Becomes a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he later chairs.
June 17, 1977 Marries Jill Tracy Jacobs, a schoolteacher.
January 1977 Becomes a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he later chairs from 1987 to 1994.
November 1978 Wins re-election to U.S. Senate.
June 8, 1981 Birth of daughter, Ashley.
November 1984 Re-elected to U.S. Senate.
June 9, 1987 Announces candidacy for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
Feb. 11, 1988 Undergoes successful surgery after two brain aneurysms are diagnosed.
November 1990 Wins re-election to U.S. Senate.
November 1996 Re-elected to U.S. Senate.
November 2002 Wins re-election to U.S. Senate.
Jan. 31, 2007 Announces his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Aug. 1, 2007 Releases his memoir, "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics."
Jan. 3, 2008 Drops out of presidential race after poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
Aug. 23, 2008 Named Barack Obama's running mate.