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Sen. Biden Hospitalized With Neck Pain

February 12, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., was hospitalized Thursday due to neck pain that has been bothering him for several weeks, an aide said.

″He has been complaining for a couple of weeks about what has been diagnosed as a pinched nerve in his neck,″ aide Peter Smith said late Thursday.

Although the pain diminished, ″he was very uncomfortable today, and his doctor put him in the hospital for tests″ at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del., where Biden lives, Smith said.

Late Thursday, Biden, 45, was being transferred down to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for further tests, Smith said, adding that Biden’s condition was satisfactory.

Peter Esker, a Walter Reed spokesman, said early Friday that Biden arrived by ambulance at the hospital about 12:40 a.m.

″He was awake and conversant,″ Esker said, adding that Biden’s wife, Jill, was with him.

Biden had worn a neck brace two weeks ago during hearings on the proposed Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty with the Soviet Union, and he was ill and unable to vote last week on the confirmation of Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court. Biden, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Commitee, had led the committee hearings on Kennedy’s nomination to the top court.

This week, Biden felt well enough to appear for several speaking engagements at colleges on the East Coast, but the pain returned Thursday, Smith said.

Smith said he did not know how long the three-term senator might be hospitalized at Walter Reed, where many government officials have medical treatment.

Biden, who was elected to the Senate when he was 29, becoming one of the youngest senators in history, announced last June 9 that he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president. But he withdrew from the race Sept. 23 after a week in which his campaign was rocked by admissions of plagiarism and false claims about his academic record.

He said he had to choose between continuing his presidential campaign and chairing the Judiciary Committee hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork. The Senate rejected Bork’s nomination.

Biden’s campaign came undone during a week in which he admitted committing plagiarism in law school, acknowledged making exaggerated claims of his academic record, and was criticized for lifting sections of other politicians’ speeches without attribution.

He said he was dropping out of the race with ″incredible reluctance and it makes me angry. I’m angry with myself for having been put in the position - put myself in the position - of having to make this choice.″

Smith said the campaign had not triggered Biden’s neck problems.

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