As reported earlier, the media seems to have a case of selective outrage when it comes to the alleged plagiarism of a speech by Michelle Obama by Melania Trump. As we noted, President Obama was guilty of blatant plagiarism of then-Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick during the 2008 campaign. However, Obama isn’t alone in cribbing from speeches without attribution. In 1987, then-Senator Joe Biden was forced to abandon his presidential campaign when it was discovered that he was guilty of plagiarizing the words of British Labour Party leader Neal Kinnock.
Specifically, Biden ripped off a campaign commercial from the British politician. The New York Times‘s Maureen Dowd reported at the time:
In the commercial, the Briton began, ”Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?” Then pointing to his wife in the audience, he continued: ”Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”
Senator Biden began his remarks by saying the ideas had come to him spontaneously on the way to the debate. ”I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?” he said. Then, pointing to his wife, he continued: ”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? 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?”
The incident was only one of several in which Biden borrowed from Kinnock.
Shortly after the Kinnock incident was reported, it was also revealed that Biden had plagiarized a law review article while he was a student at Syracuse University School of Law. According to The New York Times, Biden eventually admitted to the fraud, but claimed he had done nothing “Malevolent.”
After being exposed for the two incidents, Biden folded his tent and exited the Presidential race.
Despite his transgressions, Biden has served two terms as Vice-President with barley a mention of the incidents from the mainstream media.