Term Paper: Senator Biden's Plagiarism

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Senator Joe Biden might be the first man in his family to have gone to university, and his wife the first in hers, but Biden is also most likely to be the first man in his family to have been caught plagiarizing. While at Syracuse Law School, Biden failed a course in legal methods because he copied a five-page journal article and the only citation he offered was one footnote (Harvey 2003). He retook the course the following year and performed well, but the smudge on his record would return to haunt him twenty years later.

Failing the course did not deter Biden from cheating, though. Many years after graduation, Biden was again busted for lifting material. Only this time, the Delaware Senator copied the structure and content of a speech delivered by a British member of Parliament, Neil Kinnock. Biden stated in the speech, "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? 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?"

Kinnock delivered the following rhetoric in one of his addresses: "Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?" Not only the content but the structure of Kinnock's speech reappeared in Biden's. Biden did not copy Kinnock's words verbatim. He simply altered them so they would apply to his own life and to feign innocence.

Moreover, Kinnock had stated in the same speech: "Was it because our predecessors were thick?" Biden simply paraphrased Kinnock: "Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?" However, Biden did lift the following phrase from Kinnock almost word for word: "It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand." Biden said the same in his speech to the Iowa caucus: "It's because they didn't have a platform upon which to stand." Either paraphrasing or direct quotes must be cited properly for credit due to the original author.

Biden's law school plagiarism and his speech went largely unnoticed until his opponent in the 1987 Democratic primary, Michael Dukakis, ran a video that spliced together Biden's speech with Kinnock's ("Politics and Plagiarism"). Dukakis exposed Biden's wrongdoing to ruin his chance at becoming the Democratic party nominee for president and it worked. Plagiarism is nearly synonymous with stealing or dishonesty: poisonous accusations to a political campaign. Dukakis' smear campaign also revealed that Biden had woven in words from past politicians' speeches like Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey without giving credit ("Politics and Plagiarism"). Biden has since been called "the "most famous political plagiarist of our time" and "the dumbest man in the U.S. Senate," ("Politics and Plagiarism;" Confederate Yankee).

Senator Joe Biden is running again for the same honor of representing the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Senator Biden's Plagiarism.  (2007, July 29).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/senator-biden-plagiarism/7532544

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"Senator Biden's Plagiarism."  29 July 2007.  Web.  11 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/senator-biden-plagiarism/7532544>.

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"Senator Biden's Plagiarism."  Essaytown.com.  July 29, 2007.  Accessed December 11, 2019.