She finally gave in: Mr. Biden was chosen as vice president to President Barack Obama in 2008 after an unsuccessful presidential election. As a second lady, she appreciated the relative teaching of anonymity, noting in interviews that her students often did not recognize her. Indeed, on the Rate My Professors website, former students have more to say about her teaching style (the “hard leveler” is common) than about her link with two presidential administrations.
But on Wednesday, Dr Biden arrived at the White House with a higher profile, a platform similar to the one she had as a second lady, and a wing is filled with helpers she trusts. Among them, Anthony Bernal, a senior adviser who has worked with the Bidens since the Obama campaign. Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón, a former student of the Obama State Department, is his chief of staff.
Last week, Dr Biden appointed Rory Brosius, a former campaign advisor to Biden, as director of the Joining Forces initiative, a military family support program Dr Biden began with Michelle Obama when she was first lady. Dr Biden is also expected to push for a free community college and raise awareness about breast cancer prevention, aides said.
“She’s not going to walk in the door and say, ‘What is my identity as the first lady? Shailagh Murray, former senior adviser to Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama, said in an interview. “This will just be the first version of what she’s been doing from the start.”
Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Biden grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. With a Philly accent, Dr Biden approached her new role with the same folk touch that her husband tends to employ – “Call me Jill!” she told allies who joined her last week on a Zoom call. But she is not without outbursts of guts: during the presidential campaign, she put herself between her husband, 77 years old at the time, and a group of unruly vegan protesters.
“I remember all the misdeeds committed against the people I love,” she wrote in her memoir, establishing herself as the protector of the family, if not her main grievance.
After a brief first marriage, Dr Biden married Mr Biden in 1977, more than four years after his first wife, Neilia, and young daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car crash. She put her own career ambitions on hold to raise her two sons, Beau, a Delaware attorney general who died in 2015, and Hunter, like hers. The Bidens’ daughter, Ashley, was born in 1981.