Joe Biden’s campaign for president has been rocked by allegations of plagiarism — and it’s not the first time.
According to the Washington Examiner, the former vice president has been accused of plagiarizing a section of his Thursday speech accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. The news comes some three decades after Biden’s 1988 White House bid was upended by similar allegations.
Love, hope, and light
According to the Examiner, Biden said near the end of his Thursday speech at the Democratic National Convention: “Love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. And light is more powerful than dark.”
It didn’t take long for political commentators to point out that Biden’s messaging mirrored remarks made almost a decade ago by Jack Layton, who the Examiner described as “a left-wing Canadian politician” and “the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party.”
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair,” Layton had written in a farewell message before his death in August 2011, according to a tweet from CBC reporter Alexander Panetta that was shared by the Examiner.
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
Ironically, the Examiner noted that Layton may himself have lifted those sentiments from one of his predecessors, former Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, who during World War I had implored unity among all Canadians.
“The solution of these problems you have a safe guide, an unfailing light, if you remember that faith is better than doubt and love is better than hate,” Laurier said in 1916, according to a National Post article cited by the Examiner.
Not the first time
Of course, this isn’t the first time Biden has been dogged by accusations of plagiarism while running for the nation’s highest office. According to the Examiner, Biden came under scrutiny while campaigning in 1987 for essentially copying a personal story told earlier that year by British politician Neil Kinnock, who had lamented that he and his wife were the first in their respective families to attend college.
Biden was also alleged to have copied a portion of former President John F. Kenney’s 1961 inaugural address in another 1987 campaign speech, the Examiner noted.
According to The New York Times, Biden also faced claims — which he later admitted to — that he plagiarized a law review journal in a paper he wrote while studying at the Syracuse University College of Law.
That all was enough to derail Biden’s 1988 White House bid — but it remains to be seen whether the former VP will face a similar fate in 2020.