Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Plagiarist for the White House?

I was dismayed this morning to see that Obama had chickened out and chosen Joe Biden as his running mate. My first associations were: old, Senator, something-nasty-but-what? A quick check with Google defined the nastiness: plagiarism.

In the 1988 presidential race, the senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, wanted to be president. In 1987 he gave a speech in Iowa as he was jockeying for the Democratic nomination with Michael Dukakis, amongst others. What he didn't realize was, that it was being filmed.

Dukakis' campaign recognized that this was a speech from the far-left British politician Neil Kinnock. They put together an ad with a few sound bites from Biden, then the same thing from Kinnock, and leaked it to the press. Biden had to withdraw his bid, as more and more reporters found the sources for other bits of his rhetoric, as reported on FamousPlagiarists. It was also found that he had been guilty of plagiarism in law school.

Barack Obama has also be nabbed for mimicking Deval Patrick, as shown on YouTube (1, 2, 3). Apparantly, the politicians (or their speechwriters) think that a good turn of phrase can be used by anyone.

I hope someone finds a copy of the Biden talk and has it digitized for YouTube soon. Video and searching rather changes the environment for plagiarists - maybe they need to learn how to attribute things better in the future.

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