Forget the constant groping, allegations that he abused his office for his son's financial gain in two countries, and the fact that he accomplished virtually nothing of import over five decades of public service - Joe Biden is now wrestling with two new scandals that his campaign must address while he enjoys a double-digit lead over his 2020 Democratic competitors.
The first is Biden's support of the 1976 Hyde amendment prohibiting federal funds from being used for abortion, which his Democratic rivals slammed him for on Wednesday after his campaign clarified that he still supports it. Biden appeared to have flip-flopped in May, telling an ACLU activist that he would repeal the amendment - only to announce weeks later that he "misheard her."
The 76-year-old politician has since hedged - his campaign saying in a Wednesday statement that "Given the current draconian attempts to limit access to abortion, if avenues for women to access their protected rights under Roe v. Wade are closed, he would be open to repeal."
This is not playing well with the base, while his competitors pounced on it to capitalize on his unpopular stance.
No woman's access to reproductive health care should be based on how much money she has. We must repeal the Hyde Amendment.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 5, 2019
There is #NoMiddleGround on women’s rights. Abortion is a constitutional right. Under my Medicare for All plan, we will repeal the Hyde Amendment.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 5, 2019
I voted against the Hyde Amendment in 1993. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Reproductive health care is health care. Period.— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 5, 2019
Repealing the Hyde Amendment is critical so that low-income women in particular can have access to the reproductive care they need and deserve.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 5, 2019
Reproductive rights are human rights, period. They should be nonnegotiable for all Democrats.
The immoral Hyde Amendment should not be the law. I’ll fight like hell to overturn it. Every time we deny women access to safe, legal abortion, we put their lives in danger. #WarrenTownHall— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 6, 2019
"To support the Hyde amendment is to block people — particularly women of color and women with low incomes — from accessing safe, legal abortion," said Planned Parenthood in a statement over Twitter, adding "As abortion access is being restricted and pushed out of reach in states around the country, it is unacceptable for a candidate to support policies that further restrict abortion."
The second recent crisis Biden has concerns plagiarism, which we mentioned on Wednesday after a CNN panel ripped him a new one over lifting language for his environmental plan word-for-word from environmental nonprofits without attribution.
Biden's 1988 presidential run went off the rails when it was revealed that he plagiarized speeches from a British labour party politician, which brought to light examples of Biden lifting material from other politicians without attribution, and an acknowledgement that he was also accused of plagiarism in law school.
By many accounts, the 1987 campaign’s free fall began on Friday, Sept. 11. Former Des Moines Register political reporter David Yepsen remembers having breakfast that morning at the Savery Hotel in downtown Des Moines with Paul Tully, a campaign staffer for Michael Dukakis. “I have something for you,” Tully told him as they walked out of the hotel. He opened the trunk of his car and handing Yepsen a videotape.
When Yepsen got back to the office, he watched a side-by-side comparison of Biden’s remarks at a recent debate with the statements of a fiery British politician, Neil Kinnock. Their words — including how they described themselves and their backgrounds — were remarkably similar. -WaPo
Biden and his advisers have called the plagiarism allegations 'overblown,' and that he dropped out of the 1988 race because he wanted to focus his efforts on other matters.
"Biden has had a bad week," said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon, reports The Hill.
“His support of the Hyde amendment is a serious problem,” Bannon added. “Women will make up about 60 percent of the Democratic primary electorate and they are energized because of the draconian new abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia.” -The Hill
Let's see if Biden's past follows him into the upcoming Democratic primary debates.