Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War, the same number of deferments received by Vice President Dick Cheney, and later was disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager.
Officials with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s campaign released Biden’s Selective Service records at the request of The Associated Press. Less detailed records were available from a National Archives facility in Philadelphia.
According to the documents, Biden, 65, received several deferments while he was an undergraduate at the University of Delaware and later as a law student at Syracuse University. A month after undergoing a physical exam in April 1968, Biden received a Selective Service classification of 1-Y, meaning he was available for service only in the event of national emergency. Interestingly, Biden was essentially disqualified from the draft because of asthma as a teenager. According to Biden’s autobiography, the asthma was not so serious as to prevent him from being a lifeguiard and a highschool football star.
Until the 1-Y classification in 1968 however, Biden received regular student deferrals. Such deferrals assumed that the recipient was making satisfactory progress toward a degree. Interestingly, in the now infamous ‘my IQ is higher than yours’ video, Biden admits that in his first year in law school, he did badly because ‘he didn’t want to be in law school.’
But if Biden didn’t enroll in law school because he wanted to be a lawyer, what was his motivation for being there? It’s a question he ought to be asked — particularly given all the criticism that Democratic have heaped on Republicans over the last 8 years over questions about Vietnam era service.