1972 ABC News clip shows a 30-year-old Joe Biden hoping Congress wouldn’t hold his age against him

1972 ABC News clip shows a 30-year-old Joe Biden hoping Congress wouldn’t hold his age against him

When he is inaugurated this week, President-elect Joe Biden, now 78, will be the oldest person in U.S. history to take the presidential oath of office. But ABC News, tweeting an old profile of Biden from 1972, notes how young he was when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate via Delaware.

The clip was broadcast on November 21, 1972, the day after Biden's 30th birthday. Biden was still 29 when he won Delaware's U.S. Senate race earlier that month.

In the clip, ABC News reports, "The youngest new face in the U.S. Senate next year will be that of Democrat Joseph Biden of Delaware — so young, in fact, that at the time of his election on November 7, Biden was not yet old enough to serve. Yesterday, that problem was resolved."

The clip goes on to show ABC News' Bob Clark profiling a young, dark-haired Biden, who is seen celebrating his 30th birthday in Wilmington, Delaware while a group of people sing "Happy Birthday" for him. Clark reports, "Biden, a liberal Democrat, pulled one of the big upsets of the election by unseating a 63-year-old Republican, Caleb Boggs."

During his decades in the U.S. Senate, Biden had a very centrist voting record — and he was clearly to the right of a staunch liberal like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. But the fact that Biden won a U.S. Senate race at 29 was, as Clark reported, a historic event.

Boggs, a well-known figure in Delaware politics, was 83 when he died on March 26, 1993.

Biden, Clark reported in the 1972 clip, was "hoping older members won't hold his age against him." A 30-year-old Biden told ABC News, "I expect these fellows are going to eventually judge me on my merit and not on my age — and I have to establish that merit, assuming there is any there. I don't think it's going to be much of a problem."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.