Biden’s big trip: Uncertainty at home, thorny issues abroad dominate global tour
President Barack Obama, right, and Vice President Joe Biden speak with other world leaders at the BRICS summit in the South African city of Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2013. Obama is leading a high-stakes global tour aiming to shore up allies with tough issues, and Biden heads an extended team that is trying to reassure anxious nation-states and investors that the U.S. has the foreign-policy experience to manage a complex world. (AP Photo/P. Klaas Snouffer)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. vice president’s trip to the world’s most influential nations is an opportunity to advance a series of important issues that include security cooperation in the Middle East and counterterrorism, particularly in Africa. But the vice president is also taking a look at a series of less visible but equally fraught issues — including domestic politics and his own personal and family life.
The trip, first announced in April, will take Biden to Brazil, Russia, Ethiopia and Angola in a tour that will raise the specter of his son being a college student at the University of Delaware. The trip is intended to demonstrate the vice president’s foreign-policy skills and his leadership on his son’s college application and at Harvard Law School, a choice he would have to make if his son got into the prestigious school.
It will also emphasize the vice president’s leadership on his home issues, including how he and his wife, Jill, are dealing with his son’s death and his own battle with brain cancer. Some of the trips also will be focused on his wife’s battle with breast cancer.
Biden’s campaign staff and a series of surrogates have been trying to make clear to a skeptical public and the world community that the vice president of the United States is an experienced, tough-minded foreign-policy operator who will know how to manage a complex world and can play good cop and bad cop to his two main roles, as chief executive and as a presidential candidate.
In remarks delivered in front of the White House Rose Garden Friday, Biden said he hopes to strengthen and maintain alliances with allies. That’s what the world needs, he said, and he’ll be making clear to allies that the U.S. will be there to