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But the similarities between Biden and Ryan also shaped their conversation, from their common roots in blue-collar America to long political careers that made each congressional royalty. In those ways, they resemble one another more than they do the presidential nominees.
Both are Catholics born in manufacturing towns in the Rust Belt that have seen economic struggles -- Biden in Scranton, Pa., and Ryan in Janesville, Wis. -- and that continue to shape the ways they relate to voters and the stories they tell on the campaign stump. Each is better at connecting with blue-collar workers from swing states than their presidential partners.
The running mates’ political careers are remarkably similar, though a generation apart.
Both were interested in elected office from the start. Biden won his first election to the New Castle County Council in Delaware at age 28. At 28, Ryan also won his first election, to represent Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.
Biden stayed in the Senate for seven terms, including a tenure as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, before becoming vice president. Ryan has served seven terms in the House and chairs the budget committee. The congressional experience sometimes showed. Biden, for instance, kept referring to Ryan as "my friend."
But he didn’t seem to mean it.
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