They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and when it comes to Joe Biden, it appears that really is true.
Joe Biden has been dogged by plagiarism accusations for years, and his Thursday night speech formally accepting the Democratic nomination for president will not go down in history as a speech he wasn’t accused of plagiarizing.
According to Alexander Panetta, the Washington correspondent for CBC News, “a number of Canadians” found part of Biden’s speech to be very “similar” to Canadian politician Jack Layton’s farewell letter before his death.
Here is what Jack Layton wrote:
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
Here are the similar parting words from Joe Biden’s speech:
Let us begin, you and I together, one nation under god, united in our love for America, united in our love for each other, for love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear, and light is more powerful than dark. This is our moment. This is our mission.
There are undeniable similarities here, though nothing that can be said to be lifted verbatim. I’d actually be inclined to dismiss Panetta’s accusation, if not for one detail. Joe Biden delivered his speech on August 20, 2020. Layton’s letter was written exactly nine years earlier, on August 20, 2011.
A number of Canadians are struck by the similar parting words of Biden's speech to the final words of Jack Layton's farewell letter before his death. pic.twitter.com/pvd80XtoHF— Alexander Panetta (@Alex_Panetta) August 21, 2020
Joe Biden was accused of plagiarizing a law review article in a paper he wrote during his first year at law school, and his 1988 presidential campaign was thwarted after being accused of plagiarizing a speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.
While addressing the Welsh Assembly, Kinnock asked,
“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? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”
A few months after Kinnock’s speech, Biden gave a speech with nearly identical phrasing.
“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? 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?”
During the 1987 California Democratic Convention, Biden also lifted a phrase verbatim from John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address.
Earlier this year, Joe Biden’s campaign also copied Bernie Sanders’ platform last month.
On multiple occasions, Joe Biden plagiarized Trump’s coronavirus response plan by pitching ideas on what to do about the pandemic as his own, even though they’d already been done.
In March, Joe Biden said “no efforts should be spared” to get private labs and universities working to rapidly expand testing for coronavirus. Trump had already done this weeks earlier when he ordered the FDA to allow hundreds of private labs and academic hospitals to rapidly begin testing for coronavirus.
Joe Biden also called for relief for small businesses suffering from the economic impact of the coronavirus a day after Trump literally called for $50 billion in liquidity to small business owners. The former vice president also said insurance companies should waive copays for coronavirus testing, which is a good idea. And guess what? Trump had already done that, too, as well as getting commitments from providers to expand their coverage include treatment for the coronavirus in their plans. Biden also called for the acceleration of the development of a coronavirus vaccine. The Trump administration had already fast-tracked the development of a vaccine back in January… you know, when Democrats were distracted by their bogus impeachment of Trump.
Biden also called for Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase the production of medical equipment and other necessities after Trump had already done so.
It might be a stretch to say Biden is guilty of plagiarizing here. There’s nothing particularly shocking about two separate lists of cliché platitudes being similar. If anyone other than Biden had delivered those lines they’d likely be dismissed as just coincidental similarity. But with Biden, and his record of plagiarism, one can’t help but wonder.
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Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis