Updated at 1:50 a.m. PDT to reflect official announcement.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has selected Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, one of the longest-serving members of the Senate, as his vice presidential running mate.
"Barack has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate," Obama's official Web site announced early Saturday. "Joe Biden brings extensive foreign policy experience, an impressive record of collaborating across party lines, and a direct approach to getting the job done."
Obama was expected to break the news of his selectionto supporters on Saturday. While supporters who signed up for the announcement still received them, the Associated Press reported the selection of Biden late Friday. ABC News reported that the U.S. Secret Service had sent a protective detail for Biden to his residence late Friday and that family members appeared to be gathering there.
Biden, 65, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and considered one of the leading Democrats on foreign affairs issues--an area in which Obama has been criticized as lacking experience. Although he voted for the Iraq war in 2002, Biden has since become a vocal critic of U.S. involvement.
Twice a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden has acknowledged a tendency to talk too much. Earlier this year, while announcing his own candidacy for the White House, Biden referred to Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. "
Biden later apologized for the remark, telling The Daily Show's Jon Stewart that he was attempting to be "complimentary. This is an incredible guy, c'mon! He's a phenomenon."
However, a spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain pointed out late Friday that Biden had previously criticized Obama's lack of foreign policy experience.
"There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden," McCain spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement. "Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing--that Barack Obama is not ready to be president."
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CBSNews video: Obama selects V.P.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has unveiled his
vice presidential running mate, veteran Sen. Joe Biden, who has
served in the Senate for over 35 years. Dean Reynolds reports.
"This is not exactly a 'safe' selection for Obama. With over 30 years of baggage accumulated in the U.S. Senate, Biden is not the kind of running mate you would think of for someone who has campaigned on a pledge to change the way politics is done in Washington," said Vaughn Ververs, CBSNews.com senior political editor. " But it does signal that Obama may be more of a realist than his rhetoric suggests and shows that the 'change' candidate has decided that a wealth of 'experience' may be important to an administration after all." (See Verver's analysis of the Obama/Biden ticket.)
Biden also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, but withdrew after rival Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis distributed a videotape that showed Biden had plagiarized parts of his speeches.
First elected to the Senate in 1972, Biden is one of the youngest senators elected. Biden, who was 29 at the time of his election--younger than the legal age of 30 to serve as a senator--was of legal age when he was sworn in.
Other reported contenders for the ticket included Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
McCain, who has yet to announce vice presidential nominee, is widely expected to name a running mate on August 29--his 72nd birthday. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are reported to be his front-runners.