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Looking back on Biden’s propensity to plagiarize … and to lie

Looking back on Biden’s propensity to plagiarize … and to lie

Back in 1953, a satirical singer name Tom Lehrer released a song that reminds me of a controversy that ended Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign.  While most people may not recall the scandal, it was a very BIG deal at the time.

The song was titled “Plagiarize” – and here is the most memorable portion of the lyrics.

Let no one else’s work evade your eyes
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes
So don’t shade your eyes
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize.

During the 1988 campaign, it came out that Biden was a serial plagiarizer.  He has plagiarized portions of his term papers in college.  Specifically, he used five pages of another person’s work without attribution.  It got him an “F” grade.

In his later speeches, he took the words out of the mouths of such prominent figures as British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and Senator Robert Kennedy.  Biden specifically represented their words as his own thoughts.  In one case he claimed to have been “thinking about it” on his way to a speech.

At the time, Biden was criticized from the right and left.  Eleanor Clift said he “looks like a Joe Biden wind-up doll with someone else’s words coming out.”   Pundit David Gergen said of Biden that “the voters are going to have to decide if he is dishonest or dumb.” John McLaughlin, host of “The McLaughlin Group” said that instead of the “great communicator,” Biden will now be known as the “great imitator.”

And what about the liar part?

In a single campaign speech in New Hampshire, Biden said he went to law school on a “full academic scholarship.”  In fact, he claimed to be the only one in his class to have a full academic scholarship.

He went on to say that he was in the top half of his class and was “the outstanding student in (his) political science class.”  He said that he graduated with three degrees.

Under pressure from the media, Biden conceded that he did not have a full academic scholarship.  He was far from the upper half of his class.  He was never named as the outstanding student in his political science class.  And he never earned three degrees.

The legendary ABC newsman, Sam Donaldson, reported that Biden had gone to college on a half scholarship, wound up near the bottom of his class (75th out 85) and earned only one degree. As one television commentator noted at the time, Biden is more of an academic lightweight.

When Biden was confronted with the Kinnock plagiarism, he said it was the only time he failed to reference the Labour Leader when using those words.  It was not.

Biden’s claims are not embellishments or fibs.  They are what my grandfather called “whoppers” in the pre-Burger King days.  These are willful lies with malice of forethought to deceive.

Virtually every news analyst and pundit at the time said that Biden’s plagiarizing and lies disqualified him as a potential President.  One said he was either too immoral or too dumb to hold the office.

We see a bit of Biden’s propensity to embellish himself in the current campaign.  Have you noticed how he seems to take credit for just about everything accomplished by the Obama administration?  I guess he was lucky to have President Obama as a sidekick.

There is little doubt that Biden’s campaign scandal of 1988 will become part of the political discussion and calculus for his 2020 bid.  Just as the accusations of sexual assault leveled by Tara Reade, Biden’s past lapses in personal integrity will open a file into which a lot more might be added.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Louie

    Lies & more lies! He does not know how to tell the truth, never did. Just like Hillary. Left, that is all they do. Can’t have any respect for him or trust him. He is an angry bull head, when he does talk. Can’t think straight! How could anyone , in their right mind, with honesty, vote for anyone like him for president. The most powerful person in the world. What must the rest of the world be thinking, if this is the best of the Democratic (I mean communist) party.

  2. Jeanette Kelley

    These Demoncrats have all lost their minds. They will
    vote for any Democrat that give them everything for
    free on the Taxpayers Back! Do you think they care that
    CREEPY JOE BIDEN, is loosing his creepy mind?

    They hate our President so Much, they will vote for this
    dirty old /corrupt man who’s loosing his flipping mind!

    God Help this country!

  3. Mike

    Larry, While I suspect that you are correct that the current campaign will bring out these instances of, as you say “whoppers” in Biden’s past, that would seem to be problematic. We have never had anyone in the White House to equal the number of “whoppers” that the current occupant tells. Whether it’s about his schooling (he was a poor student who only attended Wharton school due to his brother’s influence), his IQ (you just need to read his words to know he is not too swift), lying about where Obama was born, lying about how Hillary broke the law and he would have her arrested for that, how Obama wire-tapped him, or the current “Obamagate” where he can’t even answer reporters questions as to what law was broken, or any of the thousands of other lies he has told since being in office. This is a very slippery slope for republicans given who they are supporting. So there tis…

    • Jeff Stasco

      Good point Mike. It is funny to hear Republicans complain about lies while supporting a man who, on an average day, tells more lies before he sits down for lunch than Biden has in his entire career. When did truth start to matter to them?