Jill Biden set for spotlight

Election 2008

August 25, 2008|By New York Times News Service

DENVER - After Sen. Barack Obama tapped Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate, Biden introduced his wife to the world this way:

"My wife, Jill, who you'll meet soon, who's drop-dead gorgeous. My wife, Jill, she also has a doctorate degree, which is a problem."

That was classic Biden. He's still said to be head-over-heels in love with her after more than 30 years of marriage and proud, if slightly intimidated, by her multiple degrees.

Jill Biden, 57, has a bachelor's degree, two master's degrees and a doctorate in education. She has been a teacher for more than two decades.

As the Democratic National Convention gets under way this week, Jill Biden is preparing to join a select club of women who have been catapulted from relative privacy to the world stage.

She had been able to live out of the spotlight, even though she was married to a senator, because Joe Biden returned to his Wilmington home every night by train from Washington. She was never part of the capital scene and not much interested in it.

But she became so dismayed after President Bush's re-election that she encouraged her husband to seek the presidency in the 2008 campaign.

Now that her husband is part of the ticket, her newly appointed aides say, she is ready to do whatever the campaign asks of her.

Last year when her husband was running for president, she told Time magazine that she would be an activist first lady, promoting education and health, but that she would not sit in on Cabinet meetings.

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