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President Joe Biden speaks at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the
United States Senate, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 in Boston, about the
White House's cancer "moonshot" initiative — a push to throw everything
at finding a cure within five years. (Photo: Elise Amendola, AP)
leaving office Jan. 20, Vice President Joe Biden will build on his
four-decade legacy of public service by collaborating with two
universities close to his heart, along with trying to eradicate cancer
Biden will partner with the University of Delaware on
domestic and economic policy matters and the University of Pennsylvania
on foreign policy objectives, a Biden aide, who requested anonymity,
said late Wednesday.
"The vice president has said that his heart
is with his alma mater, the University of Delaware, and he is excited to
partner with his alma mater to advance policy objectives that he's
worked on throughout his career in the Senate and the White House," the
aide wrote in an email. "He is also looking forward to working with the
University of Pennsylvania to advance its global engagement efforts.
More details will be released after Biden leaves the White House, the aide said.
After months of speculation and "no comments," Biden let it slip Tuesday
that he plans to launch a trust to help find a cure for cancer and base
his foreign policy efforts out of the University of Pennsylvania.
"hot mic" comments were caught on C-SPAN after the ceremony to swear in
the new Senate. The vice president discussed continuing his "cancer
moonshot" initiative through "the Biden Trust," which would be an
independent entity to encourage cooperation within the medical
community. Biden's son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden,
died of brain cancer in 2015.
“It’s not so much about raising
money or philanthropy, though there will be some of that, but it’s more
about keeping these guys cooperating and changing the culture," Biden
told a guest at the ceremony Tuesday. He mentioned that he will be
"based out of Penn for foreign policy," but did not elaborate.
summer, Biden said he was in preliminary discussions with UD about
collaborating on a facility, possibly a vice presidential library. The
longtime Delaware senator, a 1965 UD graduate, plans to maintain his
primary residence in Greenville after he leaves the White House. Both he
and his wife, Jill, have delivered commencement addresses at UD.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Vice President Joe Biden gives remarks at the
University of Delaware's inauguration of its 28th president, Dennis
Assanis. (Photo: Jennifer Corbett, The News Journal)
month, Biden spoke at the swearing-in ceremony for UD President Dennis
Assanis. He discussed how an interdisciplinary approach could bring
solutions to persistent national issues, such as the opioid epidemic
among working-class white men ages 40 to 55.
At the time, Assanis hinted that UD might name its School of Public Policy and Administration after Biden.
Spokespeople for UD and Penn declined comment Wednesday, as did several faculty members at both universities.
Ted Kaufman, former U.S. senator from Delaware and Biden's former chief of staff, also declined comment.
former vice presidents, such as Richard Nixon and Walter Mondale, have
been outspoken on public policy issues while jockeying to become
president. But Biden has the opportunity to be a "significant influence"
in advancing a bipartisan agenda after he leaves office, according to
Joel Goldstein, a Saint Louis University law professor and a leading
authority on the United States vice president.
"If you're not
running for president, people can't dismiss what you say on the grounds
that you're motivated for personal partisan gain," Goldstein said. He
added that Biden has maintained relatively high popularity among voters
and "hasn't cashed in on the private sector," as have other high-profile
74, has stated that he has no "intention" of running for public office
again. Goldstein said the vice president has proved adept at juggling
multiple priorities during his time as a senator and vice president.
That level of discipline is expected to continue, as Biden will likely
remain active in the Democratic Party and could write a book.
unclear what domestic and foreign policy issues will top Biden's agenda
once he leaves office. In previous interviews, Biden has pledged to
continue advocating for women's rights, criminal justice reform and
quality education on the home front.
On the international stage,
Biden could align with Penn's new Perry World House, a $17.8 million
global policy research center that opened last fall. The nonpartisan
center "aims to advance interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on
the world's most urgent global affairs challenges," according to its
The 18,000-square-foot, limestone-clad building sits in
the center of Penn's campus at 38th Street and Locust Walk, drawing on
expertise across Penn's 12 schools and serving as a hub for
international exchange and intellectual activity. Perry's inaugural
director is William Burke-White, an expert in international law and
global governance who trained at both Harvard and Cambridge
universities. Burke-White also served in the Obama administration from
2009 to 2011 as a policy planning staffer for former Secretary of State
The center's kickoff global forum featured
several distinguished public servants, including former U.S. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates, a harsh critic of Biden's foreign policy record.
is also home to the Foreign Policy Research Institute, an international
policy think tank focused on security challenges. Institute president
Alan Luxenberg said Biden has not approached him to discuss
Biden will bring special expertise and visibility
to Penn, said Goldstein, calling it a "real coup" for the university.
Biden's son, Beau, and granddaughter, Naomi, both graduated from Penn.
The vice president chose Penn's Abramson Cancer Center to unveil his
moonshot initiative last year.
The university partnerships will
provide Biden with the necessary infrastructure and resources while
giving him an outlet to teach if he so chooses, Goldstein said. A former
Widener University Law School adjunct professor, Biden has encouraged
young people to take an active role in the political process.
"will provide him with a platform to stay active and engaged in the
critical global issues that he has been committed to for over four
decades," said H. Andrew Schwartz, a spokesman for the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
discussed the future of U.S. foreign policy at a recent Council on
Foreign Relations event held in September. During the talk, Biden noted
that the Obama administration pivoted sharply from its predecessor's
strategy in the Middle East, realizing "that the use of force with large
standing armies in place was extremely costly" and "would work until
the moment we left."
As a senator, Biden voted to authorize the
military operation in Iraq to go after weapons of mass destruction that
At the CFR event, Biden referenced opposition
to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, noting that dislocated
American workers need to see investment in domestic priorities, from
rebuilding crumbling infrastructure to improving education.
former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee added that no
foreign policy "can be sustained without the informed consent of the
The cancer moonshot is about more than just
cancer, he noted. It's about convincing the American people of this
country's infinite possibilities.
"It's never, never, never,
never, never been a good bet to bet against the American people,"
Biden concluded, "ordinary people who can do extraordinary things."
Article by Margie Fishman and originally posted on Delaware Online.
Contact Margie Fishman at (302) 324-2882, on Twitter @MargieTrende or firstname.lastname@example.org.