After almost half a century on the national political stage, Joe Biden is fighting to achieve a decades-long dream of winning the White House and becoming president of the United States. But he's doing so during an precedented time in American history, as the nation battles a global pandemic, economic collapse and civil unrest. Biden, a Democratic nominee, is up against Donald Trump in the race for US presidency. Biden had run for presidentship twice before becoming vice president under President Barack Obama. In a ceremony at the White House, President Obama had awarded Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction—the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Biden's third attempt at running for President
The 2020 race marks 77-years-old Biden's third attempt at running for President. He first tried in 1988 but dropped out after allegations of plagiarism. He ended his second attempt in 2008 after garnering less than one percent in the crucial Iowa caucuses.
If Biden succeeds in winning the November election against President Donald Trump, he'll be 78 years old on Inauguration Day and the oldest person ever elected president.
He'll also back in very familiar White House territory, after serving two terms as vice president under Barack Obama following that 2008 election.
Obama and Biden became very close during their eight years in office
Former President Barack Obama once joking about their internet-obsessed "bromance."
"Joe Biden was sort of the right hand person to President Obama," explains American University political science professor Lenny Steinhorn. "When decisions needed to be made, he was the one that the president consulted with. He was on the front lines of many key decisions in the Obama administration."
Biden's personal tragedy
Biden's long and storied path to the vice presidency - and now the nomination - was marred in crushing personal tragedy as well as a number of professional missteps.
Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 at the age of 29. Just a month after he celebrated victory, his wife and baby daughter died in an accident when their car collided with a tractor-trailer.
Biden's two toddler sons - Beau and Hunter - were hospitalized. And it was in their hospital room that Biden was sworn in as Senator for the very first time.
He suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms
In February of 1988, just months after he ended his first presidential bid, Biden suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms. Doctors at the time told him a White House campaign may have killed him.
In May of 2015, Biden's world ground to a halt when his oldest son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer. That death put Biden's political career on hold, leaving many unsure whether he'd ever return.
Five years later, Biden embraces his tragic history, telling Americans it helped him pave a path forward - and find purpose.
"I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes," Biden said during his Democratic National Convention speech. "But I've learned two things. First, your loved one may have left this earth, but they'll never leave your heart...And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose."
Biden's rise in ranks
Over six terms in the Senate, Biden rose in the ranks to chair the Senate's Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, developing broad expertise in global affairs and presiding over contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
But while those positions gave him gravitas, he still lives with the consequences of some of his decisions, like sponsoring the 1994 Crime Bill and allowing sexual harassment accuser Anita Hill to be grilled by an all-male committee during Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court process.
With a penchant for speaking his mind, Biden developed a reputation for a plainspoken, unpredictable approach to politics. Although it frequently got him in trouble in the press, some Democrats suggested his freewheeling style was uniquely suited for this year's presidential campaign against Trump.
His path to the 2020 nomination
His 3rd launch for the White House propelled him immediately to the front of the historically crowded field. But Biden's campaign hit a major stumble before it began - rocked by controversy over allegations of inappropriate - albeit nonsexual - interactions with a number of women.
Biden denied any improper contact but said he 'gets' that social norms are shifting.
"I hear what they're saying, I understand it. And I'll be much more mindful. That's my responsibility," Biden said in a message posted on Twitter.
While he consistently led the largest primary field in history in the national polls, his campaign looked to be in trouble after a string of losses in the early contests, starting with Iowa and New Hampshire.
He rebounded with a resounding win in South Carolina. From there, he dominated Super Tuesday, launching what turned out to be an insurmountable comeback.
"Up til sort of the beginning of February, people were writing Joe Biden off, thinking that this was another failed campaign. But in many ways, sort of because of the concerns people had about how our country needs to be healed, he emerged as the right person at this moment, for the position, among many Democrats," said Steinhorn.
Making history by selecting the first Black woman
In August, Biden embraced a formal rival from the primary process, naming California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate and making history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party's presidential ticket.
The pick was met with enthusiasm from most Democrats and helped propel the duo ahead in the polls in the months leading up to the election.
Biggest challenge..Donald Trump
Biden now faces his greatest challenge yet, taking on an incumbent president: Donald Trump. It's a challenge he's been prepping for for years but one Trump is also fighting to win.
Biden has maintained a consistent lead in the national polls in recent months as Trump's popularity suffers from his handling of the global pandemic, economic unrest and civil unrest around the country,
But despite an early edge three months out, Biden is well aware what he's up against: an opponent with the incumbency advantage, a massive edge in cash flow and a well-established willingness to win at any cost.
(With AP inputs)