Joe Biden's Scandals

-- Plagiarism
-- Big Mouth
-- Laziness
-- Quotes
-- Sources
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Joe Biden is a character, and I sure hate to discourage that. He runs the REAL straight talk express this year, which will be exciting and doom him to failure. After waiting a good 20 years to atone for his blatant copying of a British politician's speech, he launched a new campaign this year and lasted about 4 hours before he shot his mouth off and caused another scandal, just because he marvelled that Obama was a black candidate, and nonetheless clean! Here's hoping he stays in the race, and attends all of the debates, until the bitter end.


Quotes

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, thats a storybook, man. - Joe Biden

""I've had a great relationship [with East Indians in America]. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans - moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking." -- Joe Biden, speaking to Indian-Americans.

"I dont think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about," [when he calls for immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.] "John Edwards wants you and all the Democrats to think, I want us out of there, but when you come back and you say, O.K., John, what about the chaos that will ensue? Do we have any interest, John, left in the region? Well, John will have to answer yes or no. If he says yes, what are they? What are those interests, John? How do you protect those interests, John, if you are completely withdrawn? Are you withdrawn from the region, John? Are you withdrawn from Iraq, John? In what period? So all this stuff is like so much Fluffernutter out there." - Joe Biden

Stealing a Speech From a British Politican

Way back in 1988, Biden ran for president but was forced to quit for a unique reason: he simply copied parts of a speech by a British politican, Neil Kinnock, and changed some parts to make it sound like it was about him. In earlier speeches he had properly quoted Kinnock, but this time he said:

Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife . . . is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? . . . Is it because they didn't work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It's because they didn't have a platform on which to stand.

The irony is, coming up with things to say has never been a problem for him; he's by all accounts a very bright and original thinker. (He is currently the main advocate of the plan to partition Iraq informally into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni regions.) And yet, this was not his first offense of plagiarism. As a freshman in law school back in 1965, he got an "F" in a class for writing a paper entirely based on one law review article. (He described the incident as "something very stupid 23 years ago." Biden repeated the class later and got a good grade.) He also used parts of old speeches by Robert Kennedy in his 1988 campaign (which he blamed on a speechwriter). It's hard to understand. Our best read on the guy is that it's simply an issue of laziness.

Big Mouth

We've already talked about Biden's comments on Obama. He is well known around Washington as a guy who loves to talk and really can't stop himself. It's entertaining but a questionable trait in a president, since one wrong declaration can start a war. You can get a sample by looking at his

Laziness

The deeper problem that ties together his plagiarism and BS is laziness. Biden is a smart enough guy, a college football and baseball jock who is undoubtedly great fun to hang around with. I'd love to have a beer with him. It just seems that he has never had to knuckle down be diligent in his public speeches. He's more the kind of guy who is used to winging it, pulling it off at the last second with his nerve and wit. But it's clearly gotten to the point of limiting what he can accomplish. Unlike the second president Bush, he doesn't seem to be INTELLECTUALLY lazy or resentful -- Biden is wiling to entertain challenging ideas and go out on a limb. But they do share a certain fun, party guy mentality. You can just see them at parties BSing impressively while their friends roll on the floor.

This isn't just my opinion. At the University of Delaware, Biden was 506th out of 688 classmates, and a history professor said he was "trying to be the complete Joe College." In a recommendation for law school, the teacher called Biden average in "intellectual achievement" but high in "command of English language" and recommended him based "on grounds of personality and general promise." Biden ended up 76th out of 85 in his law school class; the law school dean described him as an academic "disappointment" but praised his "confidence," "general physical appearance" and "general speaking ability" in recommending him as a lawyer.

Sources

Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards," By Jason Horowitz, New York Observer, February 5, 2007

"Biden Explains Indian-American Remarks," MSNBC web site, July 7, 2006, Associated Press

"Biden's Way With Words Now Appears to Be A Liability", by John Harwood, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, September 20, 1987, p1D

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