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Biden`s Plagiaristic Past
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August 31, 2008, 07:49 PM
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Joe Biden`s famous plagiarism scandal, in which he paraphrased a speech by British leftist politician Neil Kinnock, is described, and somewhat minimized here, in a chapter of  The Appearance of Impropriety. [By Glenn Reynolds and Peter Morgan] (A good book, the point of which is that many people spend so much time looking for the appearance of impropriety that they ignore the real thing.)

But Biden didn`t just plagiarize Kinnocks`s speech, he plagiarized his life. Kinnock may have been the first person in his family in "a thousand generations" to attend college—Biden, who used exactly the same phrase, wasn`t. The same with Kinnock`s coal-mining Welsh ancestors. Biden switched that to  coal-mining Northeast Pennsylvania ancestors, for the sake of plausibility, but he didn`t have any coal mining ancestors in Pennsylvania either.

Biden also plagiarized Bobby Kennedy`s speeches, although at no time did he claim that his martyred brother had been President of Pennsylvania.

All this is by way of mentioning that when I was discussing the Biden pick with a more or less liberal friend the other day, I brought this up, and he said "I`m sure he`s learned by his experience," and I said "Really? Are you sure he didn`t learn by someone else`s experience?"

[Disclaimer: this whole post, except for the last paragraph, is based on ideas and facts developed by Ann Coulter, Jeffrey Lord, David Greenberg of Slate, and (believe it or not) Maureen Dowd, all linked above. But not Mickey Kaus, who has a separate complaint about Biden. ]