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Dominic Lawson writes in The Independent:  Joseph Robinette Biden – known to all as "Joe" – was once the most talked about American politician in Britain. Unfortunately for the senior Delaware Senator, all the talk was accompanied by incredulous laughter.

As part of his Presidential campaign 20 years ago, he lifted verbatim and without attribution Neil Kinnock's celebrated remarks: "Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to a University ... was it because all our predecessors were thick, those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up to play football?"


Biden told an audience at an Iowa fairground: "I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden's the first in his family ever to go to University ... is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright... who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football?"

Note the overt claim to spontaneity at the outset of the plagiarism; but it wasn't just that which left his run for the Presidency buried under an avalanche of ridicule. Read more.

Question: Is Joe Biden a liability or an assset? Was he chosen for his experience or to balance the ticket? And given the comments on Sarah Palin, what conclusions could we draw from the VP debate?


( Comment )
grace_om wrote:
Sep. 30th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
Joe Biden's history of "mis-speaking" has clearly hampered his career. But it would be a huge mistake to write him off as a buffoon. He is a smart, knowledgeable, and experienced politician.

Obama has said that he picked Biden to help him *govern*, not to help him get elected.

Do you think McCain could say the same about Sarah Palin? Really?

As for the debate... If Biden makes a gaff or two, it seems unlikely to hurt him -- after all, people expect that from him. But I bet he can at least *make sense*. OTOH, if Palin is as incoherent as she has shown herself to be in interviews, it will hurt McCain's campaign. If she squeaks through, it probably won't hurt. But it's very hard to imagine her performing well enough to convince currently undecided voters that she's really up to taking on the presidency (should that become necessary).
( Comment )