Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration a culminating moment for Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden, the talkative senator known for foreign policy expertise and a command of Washington's ways, is on the cusp of being more than Barack Obama's No. 2 guy.

He will soon be the nation's second-in-command.

On Tuesday morning, on the West Front of the Capitol, the 66-year-old Biden will raise his right hand and take the oath as the 47th vice president of the United States.

And so he will mark one half of the transition of power, to be capped a short time later when Obama takes his own oath before a dizzying crowd watching on site and around the globe.

Elections are not built around or decided by running mates, and given the enormity and the history of the moment surrounding Obama on Tuesday, Biden will retain second billing.

But his ascendancy to the vice presidency is a major turning point for the country too as Biden replaces Dick Cheney, who assumed huge powers under President George W. Bush.

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