Wow. Former Vice President Joe Biden, replete with a serious history of plagiarism as noted here in The New York Times in 1987 – quoting my younger self in the Reagan White House who nailed him on plagiarizing from Bobby Kennedy – is at it again.
Reagan speechwriter Ken Khachigian alerted Reagan alumni, of which I am one, that in listening to Joe Biden’s introduction of running mate Senator Kamala Harris he heard …ahhhhh…something familiar. Specifically, it was this – as seen here:
“We can define America simply in one word: “Possibilities.” Possibilities. Let me say it again; possibilities. That’s America.”
Ken, one of the crack speechwriters for President Reagan, knew exactly where he had heard this talk of America and possibilities before. It was September 3, 1984, where the President was speaking at a Reagan–Bush campaign rally in Fountain Valley, California. Said Reagan:
“Now, we’ve heard what others have offered to the American people today, in this year. They have said that America is nothing if it isn’t promises. Well, America isn’t about promises; it never has been. America is about promise. It’s about possibility.
Recall that 1987 – a full 33 years ago – was when Joe Biden was running his first race for president. The campaign of Democratic rival Governor Michael Dukakis revealed that Biden had been plagiarizing from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock. The Dukakis people put together this devastating side-by-side video comparison of Biden and Kinnock saying the identical words – and the Biden plagiarizing scandal was launched:
Biden denied doing this deliberately and said he didn’t plagiarize. I knew better – and called The New York Times.
I told an astonished Times reporter Maureen Dowd that I knew for a fact that Biden had plagiarized from my teen-age hero Bobby Kennedy – and I could prove it. I brought my old album of Kennedy speeches – that I had memorized so long ago – to The Times Washington bureau. The RFK speech in question was compared to a Biden speech in California I had seen on C-Span. And…bingo. A match.
Two days later came the Times story – on the front page – headlined:
Biden Is Facing Growing Debate On His Speeches
For whatever reason today, The Washington Post has kindly put together a video comparing Biden’s words to those of Bobby Kennedy and, yes, another speech in which he ripped off a speech by President John F. Kennedy. That video is right here:
Within a matter of days after that Times story, Biden was out of the 1988 presidential race.
You would think Biden – and his speechwriters of today – would have learned. But as Ken Khachigian astutely realized, they haven’t.
So towards the end of his introduction speech for Harris, ole Sleepy Joe suddenly waxed downright Reagan-esque. What began with plagiarizing from Neil Kinnock has migrated over time to Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy and now….Ronald Reagan.