Joe Biden and plagiarism: more info

Teachers and scholars consider the unattributed use of someone else’s words and ideas to be a very serious offense, but the public doesn’t seem to mind much, at least when it comes to politics. The incidents of plagiarism and fabrication that forced Joe Biden to quit the 1988 presidential race have drawn little comment since his selection as Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate…Article link

Plagiarism in Law School

Biden Admits Plagiarism in School But Says It Was Not ‘Malevolent’


Published: September 18, 1987


Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., fighting to salvage his Presidential campaign, today acknowledged ”a mistake” in his youth, when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school.


To buttress his assertions of sincerity and openness, Mr. Biden released a 65-page file, obtained by the Senator from the Syracuse University College of Law, that he said contained all the records of his years there. It disclosed relatively poor grades in college and law school, mixed evaluations from teachers and details of the plagiarism.


The file distributed by the Senator included a law school faculty report, dated Dec. 1, 1965, that concluded that Mr. Biden had ”used five pages from a published law review article without quotation or attribution” and that he ought to be failed in the legal methods course for which he had submitted the 15-page paper.


In a letter defending himself, dated Nov. 30, 1965, Mr. Biden pleaded with the faculty not to dismiss him from the school.


”My intent was not to deceive anyone,” Mr. Biden wrote. ”For if it were, I would not have been so blatant.”


At another point, the young Mr. Biden said that ”if I had intended to cheat, would I have been so stupid?”


Mr. Biden said today, as he did 22 years ago, that he had misunderstood the rules of citation and footnoting.


”I was wrong, but I was not malevolent in any way,” Mr. Biden said. ”I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody. And I didn’t. To this day I didn’t.”







Filed under Courses, GOV LC 3-RFT First-year program

5 responses to “Joe Biden and plagiarism: more info

  1. Mr. Incredible

    How many words must be strung before the plagiarism snitch goes off?

  2. The general rule is, 1) If it is “common knowledge” (eg, George Washington was the first President) then you don’t have to cite it; 2) if it is your idea (eg, “I love you”) likewise no cite is necessary.

    But if you quote someone, or take his or her idea, you have to give written credit for it.

  3. How can I use an idea without proper attribution? Good question. Example: My idea is that Barack Obama fulfills all the signs of being the Anti-Christ foretold in the Book of Revelation. Problem is, I stole the idea from somebody’s blog. I need to cite that blog and give it proper credit in my paper entitled “Barack Obama: The Anti-Christ has Arrived.”

  4. Mr. Incredible

    Afraid to keep up the post: What you think is plagiarism may be sheer coincidence; and my link that says Michelle Obamaram may have plagiarized an author []?

  5. Mr. Incredible

    Obamarama plagiarized a cartoonist recently, ragarding this lipstick thing.

    Did plagiarizsm rub off on him from Biden since Biden became Obamarama’s running mate?

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