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2008 presidential race

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Excerpts from Books by and about 2008 candidates
Sen. John McCain (R, AZ)
Why Courage Matters
Sen. Barack Obama(D, IL)
Dreams From My Father
Sen. Joe Biden (D, DE)
Promises to Keep
Gov. Sarah Palin (R, AK)
New Energy for Alaska
Rep. Bob Barr (L)
The Meaning of IS
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (G)
Green Party Debate
Ralph Nader (I)
The Good Fight
Alan Keyes (NAIP)
Our Character, Our Future

Sen. Hillary Clinton
It Takes A Village
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Gov. Mike Huckabee
Character Makes A Difference
Amb. Alan Keyes
Our Character, Our Future
Rep. Ron Paul
Freedom Under Siege
Gov. Mitt Romney

(click a book cover for excerpts and a review or other books by or about the presidency from

Promises to Keep:
On Life and Politics
, by Joe Biden

(Click for Amazon book review)


Biden fans should read this book. It is a classic political autobiography -- outlining Biden's career and personal background.

Biden focuses on what he considers his key achievements (which will likely be news to most voters!). Biden considers his lead accomplishment in his Senate career to be passage of the Violence Against Women Act in the 1990s. His other signal accomplishments include: successfully pushing Pres. Bill Clinton to bomb Serbia to free Kosovo; successfully urging Pres. Bush to return to Washington on 9/11; and successfully opposing the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.

Biden spends substantial ink in this book on the Iraq War, which he now describes as a "neocon fantasy." While Biden sounds legitimately against the war in Iraq now, his current analysis has some level of self-justification to it -- because he voted for the war in 2002. He justifies that vote now as a means for avoiding the war in Iraq, and blames the neoconservatives and Bush for going to war and for turning the war to negative results.

More than Biden informing the voters about his issue stances, this book informs voters about Biden's personal history. That personal history is likely even less known to voters than his issue stances -- and certainly makes Sen. Biden seem a more intriguing character to this analyst. Many people know Biden's history with plagiarism, from his 1988 presidential race -- he explains that as media over-hyping here. And those people more familiar with Senate history know that Biden's wife and daughter were killed in a car crash days after his election to the Senate in 1972. Clearly those two events were formative in Biden's current presidential race. But this book explores several other less-known formative events: from overcoming childhood stuttering; to his 1988 brain surgery.

Biden's book explores his lesser-known issue stances in some detail too, including their connection to his personal history. If every candidate wrote a book like this, the voters would be well-served.

-- Jesse Gordon, Oct. 2007

Click here for 23 full quotes from Joe Biden in the book Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden .
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
   Allow women to choose, but no federal funding.
Civil Rights
   1968: Wilmington riots failed at conversation between races.
   1978: opposed busing except for govít-intended segregation.
   Supports sentencing guidelines to put away violent criminals.
Families & Children
   1990: authored the Violence Against Women Act.
Government Reform
   1988: led fight against nomination of Robert Bork.
   The greatest sin is abuse of power.
Homeland Security
   Missile defense is perfect metaphor for neo-isolationism.
   Urged Pres. Bush to return to Washington on 9/11.
Principles & Values
   Childhood stuttering strengthened me.
   1970: won first election, to County Council, in GOP district.
   1972: beat GOP incumbent; 2nd youngest Senator ever elected.
   1972: Wife & child killed in pre-inauguration auto accident.
   Politics is a noble calling.
   Remarried in 1977, willing to give up Senate for Jill.
   1988: Presidential run intended as base-building for 1992.
   1988: plagiarized law school paper, but not malevolently.
   1988: suffered aneurysm requiring brain surgery.
War & Peace
   1995: pushed to lift arms embargo in Bosnia.
   1995: pushed Clinton to bomb Serbia to free Kosovo.
   Bush invaded Iraq as the weakest of the Axis of Evil.
   Voted for Iraq War resolution to avoid war in Iraq.
   End neocon fantasy of remaking Iraq in our image.

    Click for quotations from other sources by:
  • Joe Biden

The above quotations are from Promises to Keep:
On Life and Politics
, by Joe Biden .

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