Barack Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware late Friday night to be his vice presidential running mate, according to a Democratic official, balancing his ticket with an older congressional veteran well-versed in foreign and defense issues.
The announcement also was made in e-mails and mobile phone text messages to millions of supporters.
"Barack has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate," the announcement said. "Joe Biden brings extensive foreign policy experience, an impressive record of collaborating across party lines, and a direct approach to getting the job done."
Biden, who has twice sought the White House, is a Catholic with a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator. Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation and Constitutional issues.
The Democratic National Convention will meet next week in Denver to hand Obama his long-sought presidential nomination, and then confirm Biden.
Biden slowly emerged as Obama's choice across a long day and night of political suspense as other contenders gradually fell away. First Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine let it be known that he had been ruled out. Then came word that Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana had also been passed over.
Several aides to former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton - who was Obama's closest rival for the presidential nomination - said they believed she also was out of contention. They added the Obama campaign had never requested financial or other records from her.
Despite passing over Clinton, Obama has gone to great lengths to gain the confidence of her primary voters, agreeing to allow her name to be placed in nomination and permitting a roll call vote. Other finalists in the veep sweepstakes were Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Texas Rep. Chet Edwards.
Obama will face off in the Nov. 4 presidential election against Republican John McCain, who has yet to announce his choice for the No. 2 spot.
Reuters contributed to this report