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Biden Also Plagiarized, Padded His Resume

A bit of history from archives of the New York Times:

Biden Was Accused of Plagiarism in Law School

By E. J. DIONNE JR., SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: September 17, 1987

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.

Mr. Biden, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is presiding over the hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork, has called a news conference for 9 A.M. Thursday to discuss this charge and reports that he has lifted material from speeches by other politicians to use in his public addresses.

A Biden aide, who asked not to be identified, declined to comment on the plagiarism charge, saying Mr. Biden wanted to discuss it himself. ”It’s his life,” the aide said.

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.

One academic official said Mr. Biden asked for and obtained his law school records several weeks ago and requested then that the school not distribute them until he had had a chance to examine their contents.

Mr. Biden and his aides were meeting late tonight to discuss the apparent crisis confronting him.

For a time this afternoon, on the second day of hearings on the Bork nomination, Mr. Biden left the hearing room. It was not immediately clear whether his departure was precipitated by reports swirling around the Capitol about his record at Syracuse.

However, Dan Forbush, vice president for public relations at the university, said Mr. Biden was ”in touch with the law school today.” …

The controversy surrounding Mr. Biden began after The New York Times reported last Saturday that he had appropriated, without attribution, the language of Neil Kinnock, the British Labor Party leader, to close a debate in Iowa last month.

In a television commercial during the British election campaign last spring, Mr. Kinnock asked, ”Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?” Pointing to his wife, he asked, ”Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?”

In closing remarks at a debate at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 23, Mr. Biden asked,”Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?” Further, he asked, ”Why is it that my wife, who is sitting out there in the audience, is the first in her family to ever go to college?”

This week politicians from both parties – some of them partisans of other candidates in the Democvratic [sic] Presidential race – told members of the press of additional instances in which Mr. Biden had used the language and syntax of others, including John F. and Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey. The information provided to The New York Times today about Mr. Biden’s academic record, however, did not come from any rival Presidential campaign.

Some of the similarities in speeches were noted by The San Jose Mercury News and by The Des Moines Register in their Tuesday editions, and by The New York Times today. CBS News and ABC News broadcast reports on the subject this evening…

Political professionals, including those working for rival Democratic campaigns, were divided over the impact of the reports of speech-lifting.

Some said it would be particularly damaging because Mr. Biden’s campaign had emphasized his oratorical skills and capacity for ”inspirational leadership.”

”He, in one sense, created the standard by which he was to be judged,” said Harrison Hickman, a Democratic poll taker. ”He has said consistently that the next President must be the one who can motivate the American public. And if you’re going to make that argument, it seems a fair test to ask whether Joe Biden is a visionary or is Joe Biden a good speaker.” …

As for the latest charge, that of plagiarism, one Democratic political consultant not associated with any of the campaigns said one factor in the way Mr. Biden would be judged was to what extent, if any, he had been exonerated by the law school.

”There are exonerations and there are exonerations,” this consultant said, noting that Mr. Biden might have been spared punishment without actually being cleared of the charge.

Mr. Biden, a passionate orator, entered the Presidential race on June 9. He cast himself as the candidate who understood the aspirations of the generation of Americans from the post-war baby boom, and also as a political leader who understood the anxieties and aspirations of the American middle class. Mr. Biden’s aides have said that it was Mr. Kinnock’s evocation of the struggles of working people that drew Mr. Biden to the British leader’s speech.

Although he has gained considerable ground in the polls in Iowa, whose caucuses are only five months away, Mr. Biden has not succeeded in sparking the broad enthusiasm that he thought his candidacy would provoke.

Mr. Biden and his aides hoped that the Bork hearings would raise his visibility and stature, casting him as an intelligent and articulate critic of Judge Bork’s conservative judicial philosophy. Instead, the weekend before the hearings was dominated by stories of Mr. Biden’s lifting of Mr. Kinnock’s rhetoric.

And a mere two days later Mr. Biden and the New York Times were also forced to admit:

Biden Admits Errors and Criticizes Latest Report

By E. J. DIONNE JR., SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: September 22, 1987

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a formal statement today acknowledging that he had misstated several facts about his past last April in a campaign appearance in New Hampshire…

Most of Mr. Biden’s statement was in response to a report in this week’s issue of Newsweek magazine on a tape recording made by the C-SPAN network of an appearance by Mr. Biden at a home in Claremont, N.H., on April 3. It was a typical coffee-klatch style appearance before a small group. The network regularly records and broadcasts such events as part of its coverage of the Presidential campaign.

The tape, which was made available by C-SPAN in response to a reporter’s request, showed a testy exchange in response to a question about his law school record from a man identified only as ”Frank.” Mr. Biden looked at his questioner and said: ”I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.”

He then went on to say that he ”went to law school on a full academic scholarship – the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,” Mr. Biden said. He also said that he ”ended up in the top half” of his class and won a prize in an international moot court competition. In college, Mr. Biden said in the appearance, he was ”the outstanding student in the political science department” and ”graduated with three degrees from college.”

In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: ”I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inacurate.”

As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: ”I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors – I said ‘three’ and should have said ‘two.’ ” Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science

”With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,” the statement went on. ”My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.”

In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: ”My recollection is – and I’d have to confirm this – but I don’t recall paying any money to go to law school.” Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse ”on half scholarship based on financial need.” …

As for the continued, minute probing of his past, Mr. Biden told The Times: ”I guess every single word I’ve ever said is going to be dissected now.” …

It really is to laugh.

Unsurprisingly, the first New York Times article actually downplayed the Kinnock plagiarism.

For Mr. Biden didn’t just plagiarize Mr. Kinnock’s 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

Of course Mr. Obama sees nothing wrong with using other people’s words, or padding his resume — or even making up stories about his life out of whole cloth.

As we now know, he does it all the time.

(Thanks to NotSoYoungJim for the YouTube link.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, August 23rd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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