Joe Biden's plagiarism problem

Thomas Lifson
Political insiders have long known about Joe Biden getting caught plagiarizing almost word-for-word a speech given by British Labour politician Neil Kinnock. In fact, that killed his 1988 presidential campaign.

But a more serious plagiarism charge has been out there even longer - that he plagiarized in law school. That is something that can get you thrown out if proven.

Sweetness & Light remembers this 1987 New York Times article:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic Presidential candidate, was accused of plagiarism while in his first year at Syracuse University Law School, academic officials familiar with Mr. Biden's record said today.  [....]

According to the people familiar with the record of the 44-year-old Senator from Delaware, he was called before the disciplinary body at the law school during his first year because of charges that he had committed plagiarism on a paper. Mr. Biden entered the school in 1965 and graduated in 1968.

CBS News tonight quoted an aide to Mr. Biden as saying he had been exonerated. However, an academic official said Mr. Biden had been found guilty, "threw himself on the mercy of the board" and promised not to repeat the offense. This, according to the official, persuaded the board to drop the matter and allow Mr. Biden to remain in law school. Mr. Biden's office declined to clarify the circumstances surrounding the case, saying the Senator had insisted on handling the matter himself at the news conference. [....]
 
Unsurprisingly, the New York Times article actually downplays the Kinnock plagiarism. For Mr. Biden didn’t just plagiarize his words, he plagiarized his life.

From a concomitant article in the (FL) St. Petersburg Times:

Biden’s way with words now seems to be a liability

JOHN HARWOOD
Sep 20, 1987


… But it was just last month that Biden appropriated an inspirational speech by British Labor leader Neil Kinnock. Kinnock told of ancestors who played football after long days underground in the mines, who recited poetry poetry and paved the way for him to become the first in his family to attend college.

When he saw a tape of Kinnock in action, Biden said Thursday, “it was a connect. I mean, I could tell how that man felt. That’s how I feel.”


So he used it - changing the names but little else - at a debate last month in Iowa. But instead of crediting Kinnock, he told the audience he thought of it on the way to the debate…

Biden acknowledged Kinnock’s language didn’t fit his family perfectly. His father was in used car sales, his grandfather was a mining engineer. But he had been told and “assumed” that other relatives had worked in the mines. And, “to make it clear,”  members of his mother’s family had, indeed, been to college…





Political insiders have long known about Joe Biden getting caught plagiarizing almost word-for-word a speech given by British Labour politician Neil Kinnock. In fact, that killed his 1988 presidential campaign.

But a more serious plagiarism charge has been out there even longer - that he plagiarized in law school. That is something that can get you thrown out if proven.

Sweetness & Light remembers this 1987 New York Times article:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic Presidential candidate, was accused of plagiarism while in his first year at Syracuse University Law School, academic officials familiar with Mr. Biden's record said today.  [....]

According to the people familiar with the record of the 44-year-old Senator from Delaware, he was called before the disciplinary body at the law school during his first year because of charges that he had committed plagiarism on a paper. Mr. Biden entered the school in 1965 and graduated in 1968.

CBS News tonight quoted an aide to Mr. Biden as saying he had been exonerated. However, an academic official said Mr. Biden had been found guilty, "threw himself on the mercy of the board" and promised not to repeat the offense. This, according to the official, persuaded the board to drop the matter and allow Mr. Biden to remain in law school. Mr. Biden's office declined to clarify the circumstances surrounding the case, saying the Senator had insisted on handling the matter himself at the news conference. [....]
 
Unsurprisingly, the New York Times article actually downplays the Kinnock plagiarism. For Mr. Biden didn’t just plagiarize his words, he plagiarized his life.

From a concomitant article in the (FL) St. Petersburg Times:

Biden’s way with words now seems to be a liability

JOHN HARWOOD
Sep 20, 1987


… But it was just last month that Biden appropriated an inspirational speech by British Labor leader Neil Kinnock. Kinnock told of ancestors who played football after long days underground in the mines, who recited poetry poetry and paved the way for him to become the first in his family to attend college.

When he saw a tape of Kinnock in action, Biden said Thursday, “it was a connect. I mean, I could tell how that man felt. That’s how I feel.”


So he used it - changing the names but little else - at a debate last month in Iowa. But instead of crediting Kinnock, he told the audience he thought of it on the way to the debate…

Biden acknowledged Kinnock’s language didn’t fit his family perfectly. His father was in used car sales, his grandfather was a mining engineer. But he had been told and “assumed” that other relatives had worked in the mines. And, “to make it clear,”  members of his mother’s family had, indeed, been to college…