After much anticipation and speculation, former Vice President Joe Biden has formally announced his bid for the presidency.

Of course, it’s not his first time.

Biden, a 76-year-old Scranton native, has had a storied career in politics that’s included two other presidential runs.

The latest Democratic candidate to enter the crowded primary field was already ahead in the polls before launching his 2020 campaign with a video release Thursday. As Biden, who served as a U.S. senator representing Delaware for 36 years, makes his third run at the position, here’s a look back at how he began his bids when seeking office in the 1988 and 2008 campaigns.

All aboard?

Joe Biden joining the presidential race in 1988.
Ed Hille / File photo
Joe Biden joining the presidential race in 1988.

The nickname “Amtrak Joe” didn’t come out of thin air.

Biden, a longtime train advocate, has taken the train between Washington and Delaware for decades. The Wilmington train station was rededicated in 2011 as the “Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station.”

It would only make sense for Biden to choose the rails to launch his first campaign. The then-Delaware senator announced his run for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination on the steps of the Wilmington railroad station alongside his family, with a call for the nation to reclaim its “tradition of community,” The Inquirer reported on June 10, 1987.

He became the fifth Democrat to enter the race, giving way to Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis as the Democratic nominee and Republican George H.W. Bush winning the presidential election.

“Discontent over the failure of our political system is rampant in our citizenry,” Biden said, according to The Inquirer. “And bluntly, it is in this gathering of discontent that my candidacy intends to find its voice.”

During the speech, Biden focused on the economy, education, and poverty, The Inquirer reported. But at the time of his launch, he found himself at the bottom of the polls.

Biden ended his campaign in September 1987 following questions surrounding plagiarism and other issues. In addition to using passages from former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and Robert F. Kennedy without attribution in some speeches, Biden exaggerated his academic record and, in a bizarre incident, berated a voter he thought had questioned his intelligence.

“I made some mistakes,” he said, according to the Sept. 24, 1987, The Inquirer. “Now the exaggerated shadow of those mistakes has begun to obscure the essence of my candidacy and the essence of Joe Biden.”

Digital age

A screengrab of the archived www.joebiden.com from March 2, 2007.
Wayback Machine / Screengrab
A screengrab of the archived www.joebiden.com from March 2, 2007.

For his run two decades later, Biden had “telegraphed ... for months in early primary states and on Sunday talk shows” that he intended to try again, The Inquirer reported in 2007.

That included NBC’s Meet the Press, where he said on Jan. 7, 2007, that he was running for president.

“I’m going to be Joe Biden, and I’m going to try to be the best Biden I can be,” he said, according to a transcript of the show. “If I can, I got a shot. If I can’t, I lose.”

He formally began on Jan. 31, 2007, with a campaign committee, a website launch (www.JoeBiden.com), and video statement, The Inquirer reported at the time.

Biden joined the primary alongside then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with a vow to “make us safe in the world." He told The Inquirer’s Tom Fitzgerald that voters were seeking a president who could ensure physical and economic safety.

“I think I am tougher, I think I am more seasoned, and I think I am more capable of dealing, you know, with tough circumstances,” he told The Inquirer, referencing his failed 1987 run.

Biden ended his campaign in January 2008 after a poor performance in the Iowa caucuses and was named Obama’s running mate in August.