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December 1, 2020

Jill Biden, Joe’s protector, set to step up as first lady

World

 
December 1, 2020

WASHINGTON: She’s fended off protesters who made a run at her husband. She’s moved him farther from reporters during the coronavirus pandemic. She’s supported his presidential ambitions again and again — except in 2004, when she deployed a novel messaging technique to keep Joe Biden from running.

“No,” Jill Biden, then clad in a bikini, wrote in Sharpie across her stomach and then marched through a strategy session in which advisers were trying to talk her husband into challenging Republican President George W. Bush.

Protecting Joe stands out among Jill Biden’s many roles over their 43-year marriage, as her husband’s career moved him from the Senate to the presidential campaign trail and the White House as President Barack Obama’s vice president. She’s a wife, mother, grandmother and educator with a doctoral degree — as well as a noted prankster.

Now, with her husband on the brink of becoming the 46th president, Jill Biden is about to become first lady and put her own stamp on a position that traditionally is viewed as a model of American womanhood — whether that means hewing to old ways or finding new, activist ones, in the manner of Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, for example. She intends to keep working as a college professor, which would make her the only first lady to keep her day job outside the home. And if four decades in the public eye are any indication, she’ll continue being Biden’s chief protector. The role isn’t completely unfamiliar territory for Jill Biden. She’s been a political wife the entire time she’s been married to Joe Biden. Plus, she had a bird’s-eye view of what a first lady does during Obama’s two terms.