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Recalling a Biden Campaign Derailed by False Claims, Plagiarism
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 4 years ago on
August 21, 2020

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As of July, by The Washington Post’s count, President Trump had made more than 20,000 “false or misleading claims” while in the White House.

But Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record isn’t pristine, either.

In fact, a series of falsehoods and plagiarized speeches derailed Biden’s 1988 presidential bid.

You might remember that President Ronald Reagan had termed out, and Democrats believed they had a great opportunity to recapture the White House.

Biden, who chaired the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, was considered one of the party’s bright lights. His campaign, however, lasted just three months and he withdrew before the primaries.

A History of Portraying Other People’s Words as His Own

The trouble began when he quoted fiery British Labour Pary Leader Neil Kinnock without attribution in a debate at the Iowa State Fair.

“When I stopped trying to explain to everybody and thought it through, the blame fell totally on me.” — Joe Biden, recalling his scandal-plagued 1988 presidential bid 

Smelling blood, the press looked at other Biden speeches and dug into his past. Reporters found other instances of plagiarism, as well as him bragging about academic accomplishments that weren’t true. The campaign of a fellow Democrat, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, fed some of the information to the media.

An alleged extra-marital affair with Donna Rice knocked Sen. Gary Hart out of the race, and Dukakis emerged as the Democratic nominee.

In the presidential election, Dukakis carried just 10 states and lost by a wide margin to George H. W. Bush.

Biden: ‘The Blame Fell Totally on Me’

In his 2008 memoir Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Biden owned up to his transgressions.

“When I stopped trying to explain to everybody and thought it through, the blame fell totally on me,” he wrote.

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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