Skip to comments.Famous Plagiarists - Joe Biden
Posted on 08/23/2008 5:04:29 AM PDT by Entrepreneur
Joe Bidens history of plagiarism and stressless scholarship gave plenty of ammo to his enemies, one of them choosing to circulate a so-called attack video to demonstrate Bidens outright plagiarism of a British politicians speech. But this appropriation from Neal Kinnock was not the first occurrence of unacknowledged lifting by the senator from Delaware.
In 1965 Biden plagiarized while writing a paper as a student at the Syracuse University Law School in a legal methods course which he failed because of that copied paper. Such stressless scholarship as it is euphemistically called has become all too common in the modern Internet era with countless cheatsites and research services offering to sell students papers on topics from A to Z.
Bidens case demonstrates that student plagiarism is nothing new. Only the methods of cheating have changed. Today, cheating has gone digital with the proliferation of Internet based paper filing and distributions systems, but the principlesor lack thereofare the same. And as the Biden case illustrates, getting caught for such academic dishonesty may have serious ramifications for ones political career. Joe Bidens failed bid for the Democratic ticket is a case in point.
Stressless scholarship may seem like a pretty good idea at the time that many students make that decision to crib, copy, or dowload a paper off the Internet, but in Bidens case the plagiarism of his student days came back to haunt his bid for the democratic presidential nomination like a spectre from his past.
In an article entitled Bidens Belly Flop, Newsweek printed Joe Bidens yearbook picture from his college days and a copy of his law school transcripts with the big F in his transcripts circled. Biden was given a chance to repeat his legal methods course, and above the F his retake grade of 80% was eventually penciled in. Being a repeat offender when it came to plagiarism made things much, much worse for Biden than they might have been otherwise in his failed bid for the Democratic presidential ticket in 1987.
Senator Bidens plagiarism of a speech by British Labor Party leader Neal Kinnock took place at a campaign stump at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. In closing his speech, Biden took Kinnocks ideas and language as if they were his very own inspired thoughts, prefacing Kinnocks ideas with the phrase I started thinking as I was coming over here . . . . Little did Biden suspect that video footage of this speech would be spliced together with footage of Kinnocks speech in an attack video which would be distributed by members of the Dukakis campaign.
Making the headline news in the New York Times, and the evening news on TV, the video was a stab in the back for Biden by his democratic competitor, and although he insisted that Im in this race to stay. Im in this race to win, the resulting publicity surrounding his unacknowledged use of Neal Kinnocks speech was what eventually forced him out of the race. Name recognition was no longer a problem for Biden, but not the kind of name recognition which would assist his campaign for the democratic presidential nomination. His name was now a byword for plagiarism. His situation became a classic example of plagiarism for high school teachers and college instructors across the nation lecturing on the evils of unacknowledged source use.
Biden initially denied any wrongdoing, claiming that this was just an inadvertent lack of acknowledgement. Yet there were other instances of rhetorical borrowing from speeches made by Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. And the fact that Biden had given other speeches using the Kinnock passages without acknowledgment suggested that the lifting was more than just an inadvertent oversight.
As with Al Gores case, the perception existed in the public mind that Biden just wasnt the real thing. He wasnt authentic, didnt have thoughts and ideas of his own, and was a malleable piece of clay being molded by his handlers to suit the political whims and fancies which they thought would appeal to voters. A Time magazine article by Walter Shapairo was pretty much on the money in offering the speculation that In the end, Biden may be remembered as the candidate who truly offered the voters an echo and not a choice.
William Safire, former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, gloated in the New York Times over Bidens demise, quoting a supposedly embittered Democrat who said, Im going back to Gary Hart . . . At least he didnt steal that girl from some far-lefty in England. And he concluded his op-ed column with a swipe at Bidens ability to think apart from his speechwriter: So my advice to candidates like Joe Biden is this: Do justly, love perorations and walk humbly with thy speechwriter. (I forget where I got that, but it has a nice ring to it.)
With all the press he was receiving over his Neal Kinnock plagiarism courtesy of the Dukakis attack videos, Biden was quickly becoming the most famous political plagiarist of our time, as Thomas Mallon describes the unfortunate Delaware senator. It was just a matter of time before Biden would have to bow out of the democratic primary.
Biden himself thought that all the attention to his rhetorical borrowing was frankly ludicrous, and the media analysts generally agreed, stating that is was hardly a capital offense, but as William Safire put it, times have changed; you cant get away with borrowing anything these days not even an oratorical technique, much less a phrase or paragraph unless you are willing to give the attribution. If Gores loss of the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 was more indirectly related to plagiarism, it is evident that Bidens case is without question a direct result of his unacknowledged use of Kinnocks speech as if it were his very own. This instance of plagiarism and the public exposure it received cut short the presidential aspirations of an otherwise gifted orator and statesman.
Best line I heard on the radio this morning.
Empty suit and stuffed stuffed shirt.
My husband just suggested that people who vote for McCain should tell the pollsters that they are voting against Biden, not Obama.
Character, integrity and honor are not factors in the democratic party.
Both McCain and Biden have an impressive life-story of suffering and sacrifice to show how their character/integrity were formed.
John McCain's character was formed by suffering through over five years in a POW camp.
Joe Biden's character was formed by suffering though over five years of hair transplantion.
Biden: (just plagiarizing his fantasies) "NIE report was written by 16 Intelligence agencies."
Newt: (correcting the lying Democrat) "NIE report written by 3 State Dept employees who hate Pres. Bush."
You won’t hear any Leno jokes about Bidens stroke a few years ago.
So - to quote Hilary (never thought I would do that)
John McCain has a lifetime of service and accomplishments and the only thing that Obama has is a speech he gave at the last convention.
To complete the Dream team - The only accomplishment his running mate has is a speech he stole.
Well my goodness - Now Obama can give the speeches that Biden steals.
What the Democrats call the GOP attack mode - most people
would call proper vetting.
Biden:We must make this moment of crisis a moment of creation. As it has been said: In the worst of times, a great people must do the best of things.
And let us do it.
We stand at such a moment now — in the affair of this nation. Because, my fellow Americans, something new, something different has happened. It is the end of an era and is the beginning of a new day.
It is the special genius of the Democratic Party that it welcomes change....
Reporter: “Excuse me, Sen. Biden but those words sound very much like Humphrey’s speech in 1968.”
Biden (smiling broadly):”You are probably too young to remember but the words you are referring to were Humphrey’s acceptance speech as PRESIDENTIAL nominee, MY words are for VICE president nominee, now may I continue?
Reporter: “Uh, my apologies Senator, please continue.
a lotta dems cheat in college. teddy did.
big bro’ jfk didn’t do well as an undergrad, but then joe intervened and he picked his grades up.
discussions with the administration yielded an idea—why not have johnny write an honors thesis and then he could graduate with honors?
so papa joe hired 5 stenographers to help john f kennedy with his thesis. the faculty deemed it good, and he graduated with honors.
Joe Biden, VP pick.
And it’s not even my birthday!!!