US Senator Joe Biden likely wouldn't be Barack Obama's running mate had it not been for a familiar Wisconsin icon.
The late Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson is credited for encouraging Joe Biden to carry-on after personal tragedy struck shortly after he was elected to office. Biden had been elected to the U.S. Senate in November of 1972, but the next month his wife and baby were killed in a car crash. The Democrat from Delaware didn't feel like he could go on with his political career.
“I went to my governor and I said replace me. I don't want to be sworn in.”
Following a memorial service at Wisconsin's state capitol for Gaylord Nelson back in July of 2005, Biden had told WRN how the man from Clear Lake “changed his life.”
Biden recalled how it was Nelson who convinced him to take the job – to try it for six months. Biden said the founder of Earth Day and his wife Carrie Lee introduced him to all their friends from both political parties.
“Those are the days when Democrats and Republicans hung out together. And they would have dinner at one another's house once a month. And Carrie Lee and Gaylord just grabbed me and made me stay. …they made me come … and they literally changed my life.”
The newly-selected candidate for V-P has come a long way since 1972. Even though he had two unsuccessful runs for U-S president, Biden never gave up, and he owes a lot to Nelson. Biden said everything you've heard about his good friend … is true.
“And when my … when I was lucky and five years later was remarried they (Gaylord and Carrie Lee Nelson) embraced my wife Jill and … and they're just incredible people.” Biden fought back his emotions as he continued. “Everything you heard about him … is true.”
Biden is expected to be officially nominated as the party's V-P candidate at this week's Democratic National Convention in Denver.