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Campaign Press Release - Copy That – Joe Biden's Long Record Of Plagiarism?

July 16, 2020

From his time in law school to his failed presidential campaigns, Biden's made it a habit of "borrowing" from others

Key Takeaways

  • Joe Biden has plagiarized from speeches, essays, and policy positions throughout his entire life
  • As a student at Syracuse Law School in 1965, Biden plagiarized 5-pages from a law review journal "without quotation or attribution"
  • During his failed 1988 presidential campaign, Biden plagiarized from speeches by British politician Neil Kinnock, Robert Kennedy, and President John F. Kennedy
  • Now, Joe Biden and his 2020 Presidential campaign are at it again – lifting ideas, slogans, and writings to pass off as their own
    • Last year, Biden's campaign used "word-for-word" language from other groups as part of his climate and education policy papers
    • The newly released recommendations from the "Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force" takes whole sections straight from Bernie Sanders' campaign platform
    • Biden's "Build Back Better" slogan is a phrase coined by Bill Clinton in 2006

BIDEN PLAGIARIZED IN LAW SCHOOL

In September 1987, Joe Biden Acknowledged He Plagiarized A Law Review Article During His First Year In Law School

In September 1987, Then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) Acknowledged "A Mistake" When He Plagiarized A Law Review Article In His First Year At Law School. "Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., fighting to salvage his Presidential campaign, today acknowledged 'a mistake' in his youth, when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school. Mr. Biden insisted, however, that he had done nothing 'malevolent,' that he had simply misunderstood the need to cite sources carefully." (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)

  • Biden Released A 65-Page File From The Syracuse University College Of Law, Which He Said Contained All The Records Of His Years There, Including Details Of The Plagiarism. "To buttress his assertions of sincerity and openness, Mr. Biden released a 65-page file, obtained by the Senator from the Syracuse University College of Law, that he said contained all the records of his years there. It disclosed relatively poor grades in college and law school, mixed evaluations from teachers and details of the plagiarism." (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)
  • "The File Distributed By The Senator Included A Law School Faculty Report, Dated Dec. 1, 1965, That Concluded That Mr. Biden Had 'Used Five Pages From A Published Law Review Article Without Quotation Or Attribution' And That He Ought To Be Failed In The Legal Methods Course For Which He Had Submitted The 15-Page Paper." (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)

Biden Plagiarized Large Chunks Of Legal Language Directly From A 1965 Fordham Law Review Article. "The plagiarized article, 'Tortious Acts as a Basis for Jurisdiction in Products Liability Cases,' was published in the Fordham Law Review of May 1965. Mr. Biden drew large chunks of heavy legal prose directly from it, including such sentences as: 'The trend of judicial opinion in various jurisdictions has been that the breach of an implied warranty of fitness is actionable without privity, because it is a tortious wrong upon which suit may be brought by a non-contracting party.'" (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)

  • "In His Paper, Mr. Biden Included A Single Footnote To The Fordham Law Review Article." (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)
  • Biden Claimed He Had Misunderstood The Rules Of Citation And Footnoting, Saying 'I Was Wrong, But I Was Not Malevolent In Any Way." "Mr. Biden said today, as he did 22 years ago, that he had misunderstood the rules of citation and footnoting. 'I was wrong, but I was not malevolent in any way,' Mr. Biden said. 'I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody. And I didn't. To this day I didn't.'" (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)

The Faculty Ruled That Biden Would Get An "F" In The Course, And Would Have To Re-Take It. "The faculty ruled that Mr. Biden would get an F in the course but would have the grade stricken when he retook it the next year. Mr. Biden eventually received a grade of 80 in the course, which, he joked today, prevented him from falling even further in his class rank. Mr. Biden, who graduated from the law school in 1968, was 76th in a class of 85." (E.J. Dionne Jr., "Biden Admits Plagiarism In School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'," The New York Times, 9/18/87)

BIDEN PLAGIARIZED CAMPAIGN SPEECHES

In 1987, Biden Plagiarized A Speech From British Politician Neil Kinnock

On August 23, 1987, Joe Biden Falsely Referred To His Ancestors As Having Worked In Coal Mines In Northeast Pennsylvania. SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Those same people who read poetry and wrote poetry and taught me how to sing verse? Is it because they didn't work hard? My ancestors, who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours?" (Joe Biden, Remarks At Democratic Debate, IA, 8/23/87)


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Biden Lifted These Line From A Speech By British Politician Neil Kinnock, And In 2004 Biden Admitted He Did Not Have Family Members Who Worked In Mining. "In 2004, Biden acknowledged that he did not have family members who worked in mining. 'Hell, I might be president now if it weren't for the fact I said I had an uncle who was a coal miner. Turns out I didn't have anybody in the coal mines, you know what I mean? I tried that crap — it didn't work,' he said during an interview with Jon Stewart." (Alana Goodman, "Six Times Biden Described Major Events In His Life That Never Happened," The Washington Examiner, 8/19/19)

  • Kinnock: "Why Am I The First Kinnock In A Thousand Generations To Be Able To Get To University?" (William Safire, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History, 1997)
  • Biden: "Why Is It That Joe Biden Is The First In His Family Ever To Go To A University?" (Joe Biden, Remarks At The Iowa State Fair, Iowa, 8/23/17)
  • Kinnock: "Why Is Glenys The First Woman In Her Family In A Thousand Generations To Be Able To Get To University?" (William Safire, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History, 1997)
  • Biden: "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?" (Joe Biden, Remarks At The Iowa State Fair, Iowa, 8/23/17)
  • Kinnock: "Was It Because All Our Predecessors Were 'Thick? Did They Lack Talent – These People Who Could Sign, And Play, And Recite And Write Poetry; Those People Who Could Make Wonderful, Beautiful Things With Their Hands…" (William Safire, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History, 1997)
  • Biden: "Is It Because Our Fathers And Mothers Were Not Bright? Is It Because I'm The First Biden In A Thousand Generations To Get A College And A Graduate Degree That I Was Smarter Than The Rest? ... Those Same People Who Read Poetry And Wrote Poetry And Taught Me How To Sing Verse?" (Joe Biden, Remarks At The Iowa State Fair, Iowa, 8/23/17)
  • Kinnock: "Was It Because They Were Weak – Those People Who Could Work Eight Hours Underground And Then Come Up And Play Football?" (William Safire, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History, 1997)
  • Biden: "Is It Because They Didn't Work Hard? My Ancestors, Who Worked In The Coal Mines Of Northeast Pennsylvania And Would Come Up After 12 Hours And Play Football For Four Hours?" (Joe Biden, Remarks At The Iowa State Fair, Iowa, 8/23/17)

Biden Lifted His Closing Speech With "Phrases, Gestures And Lyrical Welsh Syntax Intact" From Mr. Kinnock. "So taken, in fact, that he lifted Mr. Kinnock's closing speech with phrases, gestures and lyrical Welsh syntax intact for his own closing speech at a debate at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 23 - without crediting Mr. Kinnock." (Maureen Dowd, "Biden's Debate Finale: An Echo From Abroad," The New York Times,9/12/87)

Biden's Similarities Were Not A Coincidence, As He Had Been Shown Footage Of Kinnock's Speech Before He Used It, Keeping A Personal Copy Of The Video Which He "Inhaled." "One day that August, Bill Schneider, the columnist-pundit-pilgarlic-pollster-guru, showed up with a tape of a long, lovely TV ad for Neil Kinnock, the British Labour Party leader who was running against Margaret Thatcher. Kinnock had some beautiful stuff about what the Labour Party mean to working folk. To Joe, that was exactly why he was running: to give people a platform on which to build their futures. He grabbed that tape and took it home; he inhaled the thing. It was like when Barbara Streisand came on the radio – Kinnock was singing Joe's song!" (Richard Ben Cramer, What It Takes: The Way To The White House, 1992)

Biden Plagiarized A 1968 Speech From Robert Kennedy, Lifting Nearly A Whole Paragraph Word For Word

In February 1987, Biden Borrowed Lines From A 1968 Robert Kennedy Speech Without Citing Or Attributing The Comments To Kennedy. "In February of 1987, Mr. Biden borrowed from a Robert Kennedy speech without attribution, later saying the remarks had been written for him; the incident initially went unreported." (Matt Flegenheimer, "Biden's First Run For President Was A Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate," The New York Times, 6/3/19)

  • Robert F. Kennedy: "Yet The Gross National Product Does Not Allow For The Health Of Our Children, The Quality Of Their Education Or The Joy Of Their Play." (Robert F. Kennedy, Remarks At The University Of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 3/18/68)
  • Biden: "It Can Not Measure The Health Of Our Children, The Quality Of Their Education, The Joy Of Their Play." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks At The 1987 California State Democratic Convention, 2/3/87)
  • Kennedy: "It Does Not Include The Beauty Of Our Poetry Or The Strength Of Our Marriages, The Intelligence Of Our Public Debate Or The Integrity Of Our Public Officials." (Robert F. Kennedy, Remarks At The University Of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 3/18/68)
  • Biden: "It Doesn't Measure The Beauty Of Our Poetry, The Strength Of Our Marriages, The Intelligence Of Our Public Debate, The Integrity Of Our Public Officials." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks At The 1987 California State Democratic Convention, 2/3/87)
  • Kennedy: "It Measures Neither Our Wit Nor Our Courage, Neither Our Wisdom Nor Our Learning, Neither Our Compassion Nor Our Devotion To Our Country." (Robert F. Kennedy, Remarks At The University Of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 3/18/68)
  • Biden: "It Counts Neither Our Wit, Nor Our Wisdom. Neither Our Compassion, Nor Our Devotion To Our Country." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks At The 1987 California State Democratic Convention, 2/3/87)
  • Kennedy: "It Measures Everything In Short, Except That Which Makes Life Worthwhile. And It Can Tell Us Everything About America Except Why We Are Proud That We Are Americans." (Robert F. Kennedy, Remarks At The University Of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 3/18/68)
  • Biden: "That Bottom Line Can Tell Us Everything About Our Lives, Except That Which Makes Life Worthwhile. And It Can Tell Us Everything About America, Except That Which Makes Us Proud To Be Americans. (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks At The 1987 California State Democratic Convention, 2/3/87)


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In September 1987, Biden Claimed That The He Did Not Know He Was Using Kennedy's Words. "On Sept. 17, Mr. Biden called a news conference at the Capitol to explain himself. By turns contrite and simmering, he said the law school citation issue was not 'malevolent.' He took responsibility for not knowing that he was using Mr. Kennedy's words in the February speech." (Matt Flegenheimer, "Biden's First Run For President Was A Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate," The New York Times, 6/3/19)

Biden Plagiarized From President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

In February 1987, While Giving A Speech To The California State Democratic Convention, Biden Used A Direct Quote From President Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address. "Sometimes only a phrase is involved. In a speech to the California State Democratic Convention on Feb. 3, Mr. Biden said that 'each generation of Americans has been summoned' to a test of devotion to democracy; the same phrase was used about national loyalty by John F. Kennedy in his Presidential inaugural address in 1961." (Maureen Dowd, "Biden Is Facing Growing Debate On His Speeches," The New York Times, 9/16/87)

Kennedy: "Since This Country Was Founded, Each Generation Of Americans Has Been Summoned To Give Testimony To Its National Loyalty." (President John F. Kennedy, Remarks At His Inaugural Address, Washington, DC, 1/20/61)

Biden: "Each Generation Of Americans Has Been Summoned" (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks At The 1987 California State Democratic Convention, 2/3/87)

Biden Lifted Lines From Senator Hubert Humphrey On Multiple Occasions

In 1985 and 1986, Biden Plagiarized One Of Senator Hubert Humphrey's (D-MN) Most Renowned Passages On The "Ultimate Moral Test" Of Government. "Another example concerns speeches that Senator Biden gave in Iowa in 1985 and Las Vegas in 1986, when he adopted one of Hubert Humphrey's most renowned passages without citing the source. At the Democratic National Convention in 1976, Mr. Humphrey, then a Senator from Minnesota, declared: 'The ultimate moral test of any government is the manner in which it treats three groups of its citizens: first, those who are in the dawn of life, our children; second, those who are in the shadows of life, our sick, our needy, our handicapped, and those, third, in the twilight of life, our elderly.' Senator Biden's version offered 'a nation noble enough to treat those at the dawn of life with love, those at the dusk of life with care and those who live in the shadow of life with compassion.' Senator Biden's aides cite this similarity as an instance in which Mr. Biden paid homage to a historical leader." (Maureen Dowd, "Biden Is Facing Growing Debate On His Speeches," The New York Times, 9/16/87)

  • Humphrey: "The Ultimate Moral Test Of Any Government Is The Manner In Which It Treats Three Groups Of Its Citizens: First, Those Who Are In The Dawn Of Life, Our Children; Second, Those Who Are In The Shadows Of Life, Our Sick, Our Needy, Our Handicapped, And Those, Third, In The Twilight Of Life, Our Elderly." (Maureen Dowd, "Biden Is Facing Growing Debate On His Speeches," The New York Times, 9/16/87)
  • Biden: "A Nation Noble Enough To Treat Those At The Dawn Of Life With Love, Those At The Dusk Of Life With Care And Those Who Live In The Shadow Of Life With Compassion." (Maureen Dowd, "Biden Is Facing Growing Debate On His Speeches," The New York Times, 9/16/87)

BIDEN'S 2020 CAMPAIGN HAS PLAGIARIZED POLICY PLANS AND A SLOGAN

Joe Biden Plagiarized His Policy Plans From Other Groups

In 2019, Joe Biden's Presidential Campaign "Lifted Language Without Credit" For Its Education And Climate Change Policy Plans, "At Times Word For Word" From Outside Interest Groups. "Joe Biden's presidential campaign lifted language without credit, at times word for word, when crafting its education and climate plans, incidents the campaign acknowledged and said were inadvertent. … Biden's campaign said Tuesday that it would update his policy plans online to properly attribute the sources of information, which in the case of his environmental plan included a coal industry entity. … In the case of his education policy, Biden used a sentence word for word from an education policy publication from the group XQ Institute." (Matt Viser, Dino Gradoni, And Jeff Stein, "Joe Biden's Campaign Acknowledges Lifting Language From Other Groups For Its Policy Plans," The Washington Post, 6/4/19)

  • Biden's Education Policy Proposal Copied A Sentence "Word For Word" From The Group XQ Institute. "In the case of his education policy, Biden used a sentence word for word from an education policy publication from the group XQ Institute. 'Students who participate in high-quality career and technical education are more likely to graduate, earn industry credentials, enroll in college, and have higher rates of employment and higher earnings,' the sentence read." (Matt Viser, Dino Gradoni, And Jeff Stein, "Joe Biden's Campaign Acknowledges Lifting Language From Other Groups For Its Policy Plans," The Washington Post, 6/4/19)
  • Biden's Climate Change Proposal Was Nearly Identical To The Wording Used By The Pro-Coal Group Carbon Capture Coalition. "The use of other groups' words in Biden's environmental plan became known after Josh Nelson of the progressive group CREDO noticed Tuesday that much of its language about carbon capture sequestration appeared to resemble talking points from pro-industry groups. Nelson found the phrases were a near-identical match with wording used by the Carbon Capture Coalition, whose members include Shell, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. Biden's climate plan calls for making carbon capture, use and storage a 'widely available, cost-effective, and rapidly scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions to meet mid-century climate goals.' On its website, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions's Carbon Capture Coalition says 'its goal is to make carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) a widely available, cost-effective, and rapidly scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions to meet mid-century climate goals.'" (Matt Viser, Dino Gradoni, And Jeff Stein, "Joe Biden's Campaign Acknowledges Lifting Language From Other Groups For Its Policy Plans," The Washington Post, 6/4/19)
  • Biden's Climate Change Proposal Also "Copied A Factoid" From The American Rivers, A Non-Profit That Focuses On Clean-Water Advocacy. "At least one environmental group didn't mind seeing its ideas influence White House hopefuls. In its climate plan, for example, the Biden camp copied a factoid — the "average American sewage pipe is 33 years old, with many pipes dating back 50 or even 100 years" — verbatim from the website for American Rivers in a section about water infrastructure. But Amy Kober, a spokeswoman for the American Rivers clean-water advocacy group, said her organization was 'absolutely happy to see anybody come to our website.'" (Matt Viser, Dino Gradoni, And Jeff Stein, "Joe Biden's Campaign Acknowledges Lifting Language From Other Groups For Its Policy Plans," The Washington Post, 6/4/19)

Joe Biden Acknowledged The Plagiarism, Calling It A "Mistake" And Blaming It On His Campaign Staff. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: "Well, look, it's a—I think you're going to see from the campaign an acknowledgment of exactly how it happened and what it did, and you know, it's a— I think it's— look, they made a mistake, they corrected it, they acknowledged it and they let me know about it, and some of the language came from are people who support the plan, so anyway, thank you." (Joe Biden, Remarks To The Associated Press On Plagiarism Reports, 6/5/19)


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Joe Biden Spent $4,200 On An Anti-Plagiarism Software Shortly After The Plagiarism Debacle. "This summer, former Vice President Joe Biden did the kind of thing you might do if you've repeatedly faced accusations of lifting sentences and failing to properly cite sources: He got some plagiarism-detection software. According to filings that the Federal Elections Committee released last week, Biden's presidential campaign spent $4,200 beginning on July 10 for iThenticate's plagiarism prevention services. This was roughly a month after the campaign confirmed that it had unintentionally used language from other sources in its climate and education proposals without giving due credit." (Aaron Mak, "Joe Biden's Campaign Has Spent At Least $4,200 On Anti-Plagiarism Software, Slate, 9/23/19)

Joe Biden's Unity Task Force Copied Whole Sections Of Bernie Sanders' Campaign Platform

Released Last Week, The Biden Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations Copy Word-For-Word Whole Sections Of Bernie Sanders Campaign Platform. ("Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations," Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Criminal Justice Unity Task Force Recommendations," Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, Page 57, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Issues – Justice And Safety For All," Friends Of Bernie Sanders, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Economy Unity Task Force Recommendations," Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, Page 71, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Issues – The Workplace Democracy Plan," Friends Of Bernie Sanders, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Economy Unity Task Force Recommendations," Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, Page 73, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Issues – Fighting For Disability Rights," Friends Of Bernie Sanders, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Economy Unity Task Force Recommendations," Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, Page 73, Accessed 7/13/20)

("Issues – The Right To A Secure Retirement," Friends Of Bernie Sanders, Accessed 7/13/20)

Biden's Newly Released "Build Back Better" Slogan Is Stolen Both In Name And Idea

On July 9, 2020, Biden Announced His Economic Agenda Called "Build Back Better." "Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, laid out a key plank of his economic agenda for the country — dubbed 'Build Back Better' — in a half-hour speech Thursday, offering a competing vision of economic nationalism that President Trump has trumpeted in recent years." (Asma Khalid, "Biden Counters Trump's 'America First' With "Build Back Better' Economic Plan," NPR, 7/9/20)

The "Build Back Better" Slogan First Originated In December 2006, When The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy For Tsunami Recovery, Former President Bill Clinton, Issued A Report Titled "Key Propositions For Building Back Better." "In December 2006, on the second anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, former US President William Clinton, issued a report titled 'Key Propositions for Building Back Better.' Since then 'build back better' (BBB) has become the mantra of post-disaster reconstruction programs." (Glenn Fernandez, "'Build Back Better' Approach To Disaster Recovery: Research Trends Since 2006," Science Direct, 5/19)

Donald J. Trump, Campaign Press Release - Copy That – Joe Biden's Long Record Of Plagiarism? Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345801

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