Joe Biden: Safe, steady and shaped by tragedyComments
US President-elect Joe Biden's ascent to the highest level of US politics could not contrast more starkly with that of his rival; a sure but steady rise through the ranks of the party establishment.
From modest beginnings in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden graduated from law school and briefly worked as an attorney before turning to politics.
He became one of the country's youngest-ever senators in a surprise victory in 1972 a few weeks short of his 30th birthday, the start of a distinguished four-decade career on Capitol Hill.
But it was one that was almost derailed by tragedy when his first wife Neilia and baby daughter Amy were killed in a car accident just weeks after his inaugural senate election.
After a failed presidential bid in 1987, Biden ran again 20 years later but found himself eclipsed by a uniquely charismatic opponent, Barack Obama, who went on to become the US' 44th President.
Obama, however, valued his elder colleague's experience and chose him as his running mate and ultimately, his vice president.
Further bereavement for the Biden family came while he served as vice president with the death of his son Beau from a brain tumour in 2015
Indeed, his son's death precluded any attempt to follow Obama as president; in October 2015, a full year before the election, he said that the grieving process and his family's attempt to recover "closed the window" on mounting a realistic campaign for the 2016 election.
However, the arch-centrist entered the fray again, finding himself up against an array of progressives for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
After a faltering start, he swept to victory against Bernie Sanders, his main leftist rival.
With his party still divided, Biden began his campaign in earnest and he was soon having to fend off allegations of corruption from the Trump camp over his son Hunter's business dealings in Ukraine. It was just one of several hard-hitting lines of attack.
The president's team also sought to portray the Democrat candidate as mentally incapacitated, a hostage to the left and inherently weak.
He was mercilessly mocked by Trump for giving campaign speeches from the basement of his home in Delaware during COVID-19 restrictions.
But Biden emerged from his bunker in fighting form, in a now infamously rancorous TV debate in which he gave as good as he got.
Stable and steady versus volatile and flamboyant; the American public was left in no doubt about the choice they faced as the campaign reached its climax.